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Resistance In Consumerist Society

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Kaspar Hauser:
An Introduction to the Thread

This topic was inspired by a flash of insight I experienced when Crazy Squirrel immediately understood my indifferent attitude concerning propaganda about some arbitrary Jersey Shore town "shaping up."   This validation of my gut level feelings triggered a moment of clarity for me.  I'll try to do some thinking about it while I am coherent.

First, back up a little.

Like this message board itself, this subject/topic is a tangent off of Number Six's "Boycott Amazon" post.  I know the people shudder at the thought of boycotting Amazon.com since, well, they can get a printer cartridge for a fraction of what they would pay in the stores or directly from the retailer.  Principles, principles, principles ... ethics, ethic, ethics ... solidarity ... what's solidarity?

OK.  The subject is RESISTANCE.


Under the video about working conditions at Amazon (and other such warehouses behind the scenes) there is one comment that hits the nail on the head: “Middle-class people who defend such labor practices are the Uncle Toms of the 21 century.”

That’s why, with Ignatius Reilly, I say, “Down with the middle class! The middle class must go!”

It’s just such a relief to cop such an attitude since the middle class is supposed to be the salt of the earth. Or … building up the reputation of a town by building high-priced luxury apartments for young urban professionals (yuppies) … Then people talking about how the town is really “shaping up.”

Crazy Squirrels two cents:  "Ugh…when people speak of a neighborhood ‘shaping up’, I sigh heavily and roll my eyes. ‘Shaping up’ = **** boring, after all. Blech!"

It is amazing to me that you totally understood what I was getting at. Yes, “shaping up” = “boring” – I think that must be it.

“Shaping up” implies “you have to spend money in yuppie establishments in order to be ‘having fun’” – even though it is all make-believe fun!

“Shaping up” means “those freaks who have conversations by the trees in the park next to the library will be harassed by the hired guns of the corporate state”.

“Shaping up” = those of you who are unemployed will eventually be arrested on some trumped up “disorderly conduct” charge then coerced into an “outpatient treatment program” where brains will be bombarded with “positive thinking therapy groups” which will make you want to drink yourself to death. Heeheehee. Shaping up …

Clean up your act …. shave the beard off, get the rotten teeth pulled, and wear dentures … Maybe blend in … UGH!

Kaspar Hauser:
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.


--- Quote ---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.
--- End quote ---

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.


--- Quote ---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.
--- End quote ---

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

At least we know the enemy.

Holden:
I hate consumerism too,there is no end to it.
I feel someone like Trotsky,for all his faults,was a thousand times better than Reagan & Maggie Thatcher The Milk Snatcher. 

Kaspar Hauser:
God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables – slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy **** we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our great war is a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars, but we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.

The things you own end up owning you.

It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.

You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank.

You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet.

Reject the basic assumptions of civilization, especially the importance of material possessions.

(Fight Club)

Holden:
People like you & I,without a wife & kids to support,are the only ones who can give reply in kind to the corporations.The other day,one of the boss-man was saying openly" I really want all the employees to be married & have at least a couple of kids, that way there's no way out for them,nilly-willy they've got to stick around"

That's why I am such an eyesore to the slave-owner,I need to feed no one but myself,I don't need their garbage filled malls,so I make them feel insecure.

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