Author Topic: Resistance In Consumerist Society  (Read 5877 times)

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Doctor Huckleberry Diesel

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Re: Resistance In Consumerist Society
« on: June 25, 2014, 10:52:24 am »
Resistance In Consumerist Society

We turn to  “The Culture Industry: The Enlightenment as Mass Deception” by Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer.

They examine fascism as an outgrowth of liberalism.  Consumerist Society is homogenized by music, movies, art, television and other media.

That homogenization is controlled by economic powers that developed under liberalism; these powers define pleasure, then offer to sell it to the masses under the aegis of capitalism.

The problem is that if complete pleasure is ever attained by consumers, they would have no reason to continue to patronize economic powers because satisfaction would be realized. To obviate this plight, the economic powers define pleasure as consumerism.

The individual, then, attempts to satisfy her/himself by buying more and more goods and, in so doing, becomes an eternal consumer: The principle dictates that he [the consumer] should be shown all his needs as capable of fulfillment, but that those needs should be so pre-determined that he feels himself to be the eternal consumer. . . . It makes him believe that the deception it practices is satisfaction.     

The individual assumes that she is acting on her free will when consuming: there is a sense of individual satisfaction in, say, attending a concert of one’s favorite musical group. Because the eternal consumer is established en masse, though, the individual will is actually undermined. Megalithic corporations establish the consumer imperative in many, many people through invasive advertising techniques.

Those who consume become part of an “in group.” Anyone not satisfying themselves by accumulating material goods and pleasures, anyone not enjoying the mass-produced culture, becomes an outsider. The consuming imperative, then, creates conformity: everyone, for instance, must buy CD players and VCRs or risk being ridiculed.

I am quoting Joshua Blu Buhs who is referencing “The Culture Industry: The Enlightenment as Mass Deception” because this gets right to the heart of the matter.

This so-called "shaping up" is so clearly an attempt to enforce this kind of environment, recreating the immature mindset one endures in high school socialization:  everyone must purchase the gadgets and clothes ... everyone must pay the cost of the admission fee or risk being ridiculed.

Those who consume become part of an in group.  Anyone not enjoying the mass-produced culture becomes an outsider.

This is very related to why I chose anti-hero as my identifier.  My heroes are like Kafka's K and Dostoevsky's Underground Man.  My heroes are the outsiders, the so-called "losers" who are a living protest against  fascism as an outgrowth of liberalism.  By creating an 'in group' as a standard, the culture industry encourages consumers not to think for themselves but to fall in line with the crowd ... or risk being ostracized.  The culture industry produces products which encourage non-thinking obedience. 

One resists the culture industry by thinking for oneself, but by standing apart from the crowd, one is made into a pariah. The culture industry acts as a fascist leader, denigrating individuals and promoting ignorance.  George Carlin called this Smiley Faced Fascism Sporting Nike Sneakers.

The ideal of the avoidance of thought is reinforced by advertising that defines pleasure as the absence of intellectual work: “Pleasure always means not to think about anything, to forget suffering even where it is shown. Basically it is helplessness. . . . The liberation which amusement promises is freedom from thought” (Adorno and Horkheimer).

All that is sought after is consumerism as dictated by the culture industry: The most intimate reactions of human beings have been so reified that the idea of anything specific to themselves now persists only as an utterly abstract notion: personality scarcely signifies anything more than shining white teeth and freedom from body odor and emotions.

... freedom from body odor ... freedom from emotions ... freedom from thought ... freedom from reality ...

At least we know the enemy.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2014, 06:58:25 pm by { } »
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