OMFG, this post really nails everything that I have been thinking about in terms in over sharing & preformative “authenticity,” ethics, and the false dichotomy between the individual and the group. I had a difficult time deciding what to bold because pretty much the entire thing rings so fucking true.
The “victimhood-as-cultural-currency thing” to me seemsrelated to or a reflection of the ways any kind of attention itself has become valued specifically (or maybe initially) in Western/American pop culture — reality TV has previously been mentioned, but also celebrity mags, celebrity Twitters, blogging (Tumblr followers, Facebook likes, etc.) and so on… and as far as marketing and “the Mainstream Media,” there has been this obvious shift towards performing authenticity and genuineness in order to appeal to a generation of consumers who can no longer be fooled by advertising’s promise to make life happier or easier via products, so instead the tactic is to market the concept of building an honest identity via certain products— the right kinds of products — and I’m also talking about this relative to zines/radical ‘blogging’ because at least on Tumblr (which, to me, sometimes seems like nothing more than a virtual roomful of self-absorbed twentysomethings obsessed with performing their identities [sorry, been there done that, IDGAF anymore] ) — I don’t know what’s radical about posting so so many GPOYs and listing All The Things You’re Wearing and where it came from and Name Brands, etc. Like, not to totally invalidate your identity-building personal effects, but I can’t relate to how a particular brand of lipstick or underwear or shoe or vinyl record or herbal tea is empowering; I just Don’t Get It.
I relate these acts of consumption — or maybe it’s still a kind of pro-sumption? — to the currency of confessional stories, the currency of victimhood, and performing or presenting a kind of authenticity, sort of like how advertisers want me to identify with a particular car or programming line-up or credit card.In radical venues (especially on Tumblr I guess — note that I’ve been out of the zine-loop for about five years due to a personal unwillingness to share, but more on that later) I am encouraged to identify with an ever-increasing vocabulary, some kind of dichotomous key that will describe in an instant exactly who I am and where I’m coming from. & again, I don’t think this kind of identity politic is invalid across the board but… I’m just Not That Into It & it feels intimidating sometimes (eg, am I boring and irrelevant now because I don’t want to broadcast every defined aspect of myself everywhere all the time?)
“Having an image steadily became more rewarding than being a person; people have problems but images just have spectators” Gary Indiana
Optimistic theorists of cognitive capitalism, such as Hardt and Negri, believe that the positive externalities or spill-over effects associated with immaterial production create the conditions for a new commons. Efforts to measure and privatize human, intellectual and cultural resources must ultimately fail; the hegemonic character of immaterial labour means that the most valuable economic resources are becoming socialized, despite the best efforts of capital to prevent this. The proposition I wish to investigate here is in some ways the inverse: while policy-makers, doctors and economists seek to contain the negative externality of unhappiness as a measurable psychological deficiency and economic cost, it has inherently political and sociological qualities that lend it critical potential. One contradiction of neo-liberalism is that it demands levels of enthusiasm, energy and hope whose conditions it destroys through insecurity, powerlessness and the valorization of unattainable ego ideals via advertising. What is most intriguing about the turn towards happiness amongst political elites and orthodox economists is that it is bringing this truth to the fore, and granting it official statistical endorsement. Even a cursory examination of the evidence on unhappiness in neo-liberal societies draws the observer beyond the limits of psychology, and into questions of political economy.
Richard Feynman (Cargo Cult Science)
I used to know someone who loved Richard Feynman - I think it was a lecturer that I loved.
- be thin
- have a vagina
- give birth
- cook for you
- have long hair
- wear makeup
- have sex with you
- be feminine
- be graceful
- be fashionable
- wear pink
- love men
- be the media’s idea of perfection
- listen to your bullshit
especially the last one.