Monday, October 26, 2009

Submissive Hedonism

Our oligarchs walk a tightrope because leadership is an exercise in high hypocrisy. It is the ultimate in multitasking: saying one thing and doing another; condemning and approving the same thing at the same time; building what one is destroying.

Stability and order are prime examples of this creative hypocrisy.

One the one hand, our oligarchs are obsessed with them. They want a return to the gray conformity of the Fifties. Of course, they forget that this conformity was as much a media event as a reality. Back then, you had three networks and a handful of magazines, dominated by the good people at Time-Life, all singing the same song and giving the impression that the nation was singing along with them. In truth, there were many different songs but they were muted by the one meta-song that drownsed out all others. These disparate songs found their voices in the sixties.

At the same time, our oligarchs must encourage a spirit of hedonistic rebellion for a number of reasons.

A hedonistic lifestyle guarantees political apathy. The bigger the home entertainment centers, the more the synapses of the brain are neutralized. In the darkness of the club, the glow of the play station and the throbbing beat of indie rock is the quest for “self actualization.” And in this quest, community perishes.

There are two types of community. There is the bottom-up, organic community that is a threat to the corporatist state. This is what must be destroyed to be replaced by the synthetic corporatist community marketed from above. Successful marketing depends upon fragmentation. Organic communities resist this fragmentation. Destroy them and the leader is left with a massive vacuum waiting to be filled by noise and toys. Self absorption kills the critical facility; rebellion always morphs into conformity.

On the surface, hedonism appears to be rebellion, but it always shows up for work on time because there are rent and car payments to be made. Rebels make the best drones because they are too self absorbed to realize they’re being exploited. They are so wrapped up in their toys they don’t even feel the screws being tightened.

Modern oppression resonates with a desire for the good life.


david m said...

I think the one toy that has destroyed family/community is the video toy; be it TV or video game. Harlan Ellison calls it "the glass teat".I don't include the movie theater because when the theater lets-out, on the way home or to dinner, coversation with friends or family occurs stimulated by the film. When people watch TV there is no conversation. Very few shows stimulate they mainly hypnotize and people either fall asleep or go home without hardly saying a word. Joyce Carol Oats summed it up best," people who watch TV are only skimming the surface of life". Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 prophetically depicts where we are headed. Sorry for the long one but this situation is one I have feared since I was in highschool back in the early 70's.

Case Wagenvoord said...

I stopped watching TV for two reasons: first, the next morning I could never remember what I'd watched the night before, and I could never keep the blondes straight

TAO Walker said...

That's alright. There's really only one Blonde anyway....the illusion of plenty is a product of make-up, hair-styling, and costume and scenery changes.

You've pretty well nailed the manifesto to the cathedral door here today, Amigo.
What else, really, is there to say about the condition the domesticated peoples' CONdition is in?

Unless you know a remedy for it....


Case Wagenvoord said...

If, by some chance, I discovered the remedy, I'd have to resist the temptation to write a book and make the rounds of the morning talk shows.

However, I suspect that the remedy is to recognize that, in truth:


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