Voyou Désœuvré

@voyou My Top 3 #lastfm Artists: Taylor Swift (30), Jessie Ware (19) & Inner City (2) http://bit.ly/c92RWg 31 Oct 14 Reply Retweet Favorite

Grand Budapest Hotel Perfume

In the essay “Utopia as Replication”, Jameson suggests we consider Walmart as an example of how “the most noxious phenomena can serve as the repository and hiding place for all kinds of unsuspected wish-fulfilments and utopian fantasies”. Jameson intends this as a bit of a provocation, but I wonder if Walmart isn’t actually too easy a choice for the “paradoxical affirmation” of “what is most exploitative and dehumanizing in the working life of capitalism”. Walmart’s vastness of scale and remorselessness give it an aesthetic alibi, allying it with a tradition of modernist creative destruction which is likely to be attractive, at least to the sort of people who read Jameson. To really follow through Jameson’s project of unearthing the “utopian impulse”, we need to consider an aspect of capitalism that is not just exploitative but also in bad taste; for a certain strand of contemporary opinion, that would be “twee”, the kind of cutesily-retro faux-petit-bourgeois capitalism of cupcake shops and Cath Kidston. Read more↴

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snippets

  • God Only Knows

    tomewing:

    It’s also, of course, got a long heritage as a generalist broadcaster, though this has shifted from the reportage of Top Of The Pops (if people buy it, it’s in) to the ‘curator’ approach of Jools Holland and the Glastonbury coverage.

    Picking out this sentence from a much longer piece because I want to think some more about the idea of a shift in understanding of breadth from what you might call “market populism” (or majoritarianism) to an idea of curation. Lots of our language for talking about pop draws on terms from Fordism - images of mass produced pop, a pop assembly line. This is, for me, part of the political importance of pop, because there is a sort of democracy bound up with this kind of mass production. Think of Andy Warhol’s line about how even the president doesn’t get to drink a better Coke than you do. Coke has diversified its brand in a way that makes its uniformity less striking today, and anyway I assume Obama would only drink Coke as a populist gesture, and in private drinks small-batch kombucha or something.

    To go full Marxist economic reductionist for a second, the shift from populism to curation seems analogous to the movement from mass factory production to networks of smaller producers called “flexible specialisation”. Some Marxists have seen flexible specialisation (and other post-Fordist forms of economic organisation) as involving a form of work that is less directly alienated than mass production, and so having some kind of positive potential within it. I’m not convinced - a more flexible alienation seems like it might be a more durable, and hence worse, alienation - and I’m even less convinced that there’s a positive side to the shift to a elite curation mode of pop culture. Can any of you see a utopian potential buried deep within Jools Holland?

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  • Shakespeare’s Genius Is Nonsense - Issue 18: Genius - Nautilus

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