@voyou DJ mixing Girls Aloud into Dua Lipa and I'm feeling personally attacked. 1 Mar 19 Reply Retweet Favorite

Capitalist use and communist use

Sometimes people take the distinction between use value and exchange value as a moral distinction: use value is natural and good, and then capitalism came along and ruined things by inventing exchange value. This is wrong – use value and exchange value are a dialectical pair, and they both only came into existence with the development of capitalism.

Obviously, people used things before capitalism, but the idea of use value, that is, of usefulness in general, rather than some specific usefulness, was, before capitalism, an entirely mental abstraction. It’s only when usefulness in general comes to underpin generalised exchangeability (i.e., exchange value) that it acquires a practical reality.

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Recent

The power of garlic sausage and the limits of social reproduction theory

In 1852, Marx wrote that Napoleon III had managed to become Emperor of France because he knew the power of “cigars and champagne, cold poultry and garlic sausage.” Many attempts have been made to interpret the significance of these sausages (including Andrew Parker’s suggestion that they are a phallic symbol), but few have drawn attention […]

The Official Charts of 2017

You can also experience this post in the form of a Spotify playlist. Top tracks Rae Morris – ‘Do It’. One of my favourite songwriting tropes is intentional lyrical inarticulacy as a representation of overwhelming passion. Dagny – ‘Wearing Nothing’. Another thing I really like is airy, summery disco-inflected tracks (I especially like them when […]

Against the homophobia of innocence

In a post on the NYRB’s web site about Carol, Francine Prose writes: Ramping up the drama is the fact that we are never permitted to forget the social pressures and restrictive mores of the mid-twentieth century. In one scene, the bewildered Therese asks her even more clueless boyfriend Richard (Jake Lacy) if he’s ever heard […]

Sensational communism

I generally find out about TV shows either through links to thinkpieces posted on Twitter, or through gifsets posted on Tumblr. I suspect the gifsets have tended to be a more reliable guide to good shows than the thinkpieces, a suspicion that was reinforced when I finally got round to watching Sense8 recently. As the gifsets promised, it’s great, […]

The Official Chart for January 2017

So, maybe I’ll continue to do this regular music post thing, but once a month? And rather than struggling to find something to say about every track I hear that I like, I’ll just write about the tracks I know I’ve got something to say about, and stuff the rest on a Spotify playlist (and […]

Snippets

LRB · Alan Bennett · Diary for 2018

Cuts in my plays seldom bother me and I am not the sort of author who defends every comma. However I do stand guard over my aitches, feeling that dropping aitches is too easy a shortcut to the demotic.Alan Bennet casually subtweeting the entire UK drama establishment.

LRB · Owen Bennett-Jones · Can’t Afford to Tell the Truth: Trouble at the BBC

The BBC has papered over its failure to challenge authority by developing a house style of aggressive interviewing which gives the impression of holding power to account without actually doing so. Having conducted more than my fair share of these exchanges, I eventually reached the conclusion that they were essentially false. Yes, BBC presenters seek [...]