Oh Jesus this is good…
Originally posted on communists in situ:
An evening, sometime in the near future…
26 Kadashevskaya nab. 115035 Moscow
January 1st, 2019
I guess we could all have seen it coming a few years back. Things really started to get worse around the end of 2013 and then dragged on into the long, cold winter months. That whole business with that guy, what was his name? Mountain in Wales. Snowden. That’s it. He went underground for a while and then emerged as the CEO of Bozhe Moi! (My God!): the amazing Russian search engine that overtook Google early in 2017. Totally wiped them out. I find it reassuringly old world and Le Carré-like to have the FSB watching all of us rather than the NSA.
Shortly after the President’s death, events moved fast. Well, suspicions were raised when they declared it accidental. Everyone knew it was suicide. He lost face (and…
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It just dawned on my last night that maybe instead of watching a ball drop as our abstract representation of how time passes, I don’t know, I would have liked to watch a nuclear bomb hitting the earth at the second it becomes the new year. Just seems more fitting of how our society functions. And it wouldn’t even be a hassle either, we’re dropping bombs for testing all the time.
My new year’s resolution is to stop procrastinating at procrastinating. I need to step up my procrastination game. This procrastination isn’t going to get itself done, y’know? So far, I think I’m doing an ok job.
My other new year’s resolution is to use TOR for all my internet needs whenever I can. And hey, look at me now. Blogging from Sweden. It’s really easy, much easier than I thought it was. And overall there are still vulnerabilities in it that I don’t quite understand but I’ll look into it. Link for anyone who’s interested in a NSA-resistant internet experience.
Also to get a job. But since the economy isn’t something that I have wrapped around my finger, I’m gonna work my butt off during the day and hopefully write/read more at night about how to let things go that aren’t in my control, since beating myself up will only slow me down.
Well, here you go. I hope that 2014 for you is brimming with possibilities for you and everyone you know.
Marx’s concept of Commodity Fetishism has to be one of the most spectacular mindfucks I’ve ever experienced in my life, simply because of how basic and everyday commodities (or in basic terms, shit that’s for sale) are. It’s always nice to discover something new, and it’s especially nice to realize you’ve been thinking a certain way without even realizing it. It’s like what Zizek says about unknown-knowns: it’s the things that you don’t know that you do know that keep you trapped. When understood, you walk away with this inverted understanding of daily capitalist life, as all of your upbringing under capitalist society is put on its head. It’s one of my favorite mindfucks.
Let’s say you need a new pair of shoes, and you go to the shoemaker. The shoemaker knows you. He knows you, your personal tastes, your whole family, your family’s personal tastes what you’ll need the shoes for, what the latest trends are, what materials the shoes are made out of, how all of these things will influence your social standing, the way that you walk, what other people will think about your shoes, etc. And not only does he know all of those things, but he knows how each of those things will influence the other things he knows, for example how the use of a certain type of material will influence the way that you walk, what your parents will think about the style of shoe, you get the point. He is an absolute master of his trade. He promises you to take all of these things into consideration when making your shoes, and he does. He gives you the best damn shoes you’ve ever seen. In order to make sure that he can continue to do this type of work in the future, what do you give him?
Let’s just now shift over to a capitalist universe. The shoemaker is still there, you’re still there, and you’re just about to give him something so that he can continue to do this work for other people. What do you give him? Cash. Simple answer, cash. And then you walk away. Does this seem strange to you at all? If the answer is no, then we need to explain the process of creation better.
In order to make the shoes, the shoemaker draws resources from the environment, draws inspiration from his years of experience living in society, assembles the resources in a culturally appealing way, and hands them to you. By giving him money you’re not returning any of those things to him, not directly at least. The money isn’t inspiration, the money isn’t the years it took get his trade down. It’s entirely unconnected and unrelated from the process of creation itself. He could buy the leather and rubber with the money you gave him. That would mean he would have to go to another leather and rubber master, give them more of these slips of paper that are also disconnected from their work in order to get what he needs. And here we come across one profound realization of Karl Marx: everywhere where man takes cash, man experiences alienation from life itself.
And just to bring the alienation point home, I’d like to engage in an exercise with you right now and ask you to look around wherever it is you’re reading and try to guess the price value of the objects around you if they were suddenly sold in a tag sale. You can imagine it. That bowl will go for a dollar each, that pair of shoes for five dollars, you get the idea. There’s nothing “one-like” about a bowl, or “five-like” about about a pair of shoes. The shoes and the bowls just exist, and we imagine “one” or “five” and then implant our ideas of what they might be worth onto those items. Again, there’s nothing one-like or five-like about these items.
Y’all ready for this? This is where Marx tells you that capitalist society is just as insane and strange as all of those “primitive” people of the world capitalist society takes a dump on. Marx says where else in the world do we see behavior like this, where man puts value onto an object and suddenly that object really does appear to have those values? The Third World, bitches! He cites an example of a tribe who, when their child gets sick, they put them in front of a totem pole, and by the belief that they actually put the child in front of a god and asked the god for forgiveness, the child becomes healed. Just as blocks of inanimate wood become gods, green slips of paper and cotton becomes an invisible life force that unites all objects. And that’s why it’s called commodity fetishism, because ordinary objects are taking on religious qualities.
And after all of this, you can nice and neatly wrap up this whole system of thought into two words: false consciousness. As long as we genuinely believe that objects have numerical value and that money is the holder of that value, we are not thinking freely.
Well, it took me all day and believe it or not I’m currently facing a computer uprising…this disobedient toaster apparently doesn’t know how to install Windows live movie maker! So there goes my youtube fame. Here’s to hoping that it’ll pass along well enough that someone can make something good of it. Or at least that you can hear it. Because I really did my best to make it as cheesy as fuck. It’s all dark and shit in the beginning because both Slavoj and Kanye get hard-ons of for tragedy and how political reality ruptures your comfortable state of mind. I just there’s serious space for a bromance here. I think they’d have a great time talking about the double edged sword of normalcy and becoming indoctrinated, and Zizek likes analyzing everything Freud-style and Kanye likes anime, so why don’t these muhfuckas sit down and watch some Evangelion together, no? And New Slaves is ALL about Kanye’s struggle with his Big Other. It’s been the defining issue of his whole career. Kanye wrestles with what it means to be a happy member of society, and then takes shits on it. PLEASE tell me that Kanye wouldn’t enjoy Zizek’s inverted look at society and his take on the subconscious. I’m telling ya.
But I hope this ushers in a new age of dialogue between Kanye fans and Zizek…fans. The melodrama and tortured happiness that’s found in Kanye is equally matched by the dark visions of the Slovenian philosopher, who insists that society was never something ever to be taken seriously, completely sustaining itself on “necessary delusions”. If you think I’m joking, take this beat and apply it to any lecture Zizek gives and tell me that the dark undertones of New Slaves don’t complement Zizek’s ultra-pessimism.
Shout outs Kanye West, Brandon Marshall, the guy who worked his darnest to imitate the beat the best he could, the slav-joy himself, Audacity media player, Coca-cola (the perfect commodity) and Southern Comfort, and our lady of free speech, WordPress. Just click download and it’ll be there. Have a good night!
All I know is that I had to reblog this. Forthcoming post about reddit.com/r/oddlysatisfying and what makes it so appealing.