02 avril 2008

Five Amongst Our Enemies / Down With Existing Society!

a (late) contribution to a prizeless contest presented by Infinite ThØught


Five Amongst Our Enemies:

1. the commodification of everyday life:
a - memory, time, culture, life receive all value from their exchange value
b - the amnesiac society; the supremacy of a consumption which exists in an eternal ahistorical present
c - the sociality of social life having been replaced by coordinated consumption amongst adjacent individuals

2. the ideological dissolution of shared value(s) in favor of individual value(s)

3. the triumph of ideology as anti-ideology; the invisible takeover of 'things as they are' (according to Imperial rules) rather than 'things as they could be'

4. the primary optimistic assumption on the part of those who support 'things as they are' - without recognizing reality as a dangerous proposition

5. the lack of general recognition that this assumption (4) reveals the ideological biases of "anti"-ideology.

5 commentaires:

David a dit…

Sounds like somebody's been watching Judd Apatow movies! Though few since John Ford--maybe John Hughes and Kevin Smith--have quite romanticized a community of shared values: Everybody Loves Raymond, ebay, superstar porn, harmless drugs... After all, if there weren't such shared values, how could we have malls?

dave a dit…

A further explanation of value(s): that which is valued by a community or individual, morally as well as materially. Materially as in 'that which provides value,' which is also a moral standard - if not immediately than eventually. (Societies value marriage in a material sense, and thus also a moral one; late capitalism has done away with the moral necessity of this value because it has already done away with the material necessity).

David,
I think the 'shared values' of Smith, Hughes, modern culture actually refer to the space created by 1(c), which is only the illusion of shared value. Ford is already nostalgic for the disappearance of social value(s), even as he recognizes that they were often not as 'shared' as we might believe. Godard might also be brought into the conversation if we're to stay strictly cinematic - but remember, protests over the firing of Langlois helped spark May 1968.

David a dit…

"Ford is already nostalgic for the disappearance of social value(s), even as he recognizes that they were often not as 'shared' as we might believe."

I've been thinking the same thing about Hou Hsiao-Hsien, that other great filmmaker about the allure (and increasing impossibility) of domesticity. Idances say everything to me about the world I'm living in: private fears in public places is as private as it gets, no matter how much individualism reigns (and it's not an entirely bad thing).

Not sure that Ozu would be with you on marriage, but I think I am--recalls that wonderful line in Eyes Wide Shut, nostalgic for the 19th century: "You know why women used to get married, don't you?... It was the only way they could lose their virginity and be free to do what they wanted with other men--the ones they really wanted."

dave a dit…

I nearly mentioned Hou and Ozu in my comment as well. I think you're spot-on on hou... as for Ozu, I'm not yet sure, but he (like Hou, Ford, Godard, Costa, and many others) is in many ways primarily concerned with the ways in which societies change and value(s) shift.

The intersection of these critiques with the cinematic is I suppose unavoidable in this space, but one more note to keep in mind - "Cinephilia is a lack of ambition" (Danièle Huillet).

David a dit…

Well if you don't want movies, I'm sure Hobbes would have agreed with most of these points (may have even supported them). Or Shelley:

"But we let 'I dare not wait upon I would, like the poor cat in the adage.' We want the creative faculty to imagine that which we know; we want the generous impulse to act that which we imagine; we want the poetry of life; our calculations have outrun conception; we have eaten more than we can digest. The cultivation of those sciences which have enlarged the limits of the empire of man over the external world, has, for want of the poetical faculty, proportionally circumscribed those of the internal world; and man, having enslaved the elements, remains himself a slave. To what but a cultivation of the mechanical arts in a degree disproportioned to the presence of the creative faculty, which is the basis of all knowledge, is to be attributed the abuse of all invention for abridging and combining labor, to the exasperation of the inequality of mankind? From what other cause has it arisen that the discoveries which should have lightened, have added a weight to the curse imposed on Adam? Poetry, and the principle of Self, of which money is the visible incarnation, are the God and Mammon of the world."