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Sunday, 2 May 2010

Marketed masturbation

Self disgust is self obsession and I do as I please’*. Very often, my self obsession is a manifestation of self disgust, so I shouldn’t just do as I please. (Although in the context of the internet then I’m not alone -

If this is my inclination then I at least want to do it with some reference to the actual world we live in. Further, it’s not enough to be topical; I want to challenge myself to say something new and original. To borrow the science author David Bodanis‘s words, writing should be ‘a telescope for new ideas - a means of directing attention to fresh, unsuspecting realms.’**

From the tinternet to life OFF the computer, from the individual to the social and political, from here to the struggle for a new society. I set high standards for myself but whilst this perfectionism causes an individual problem, what isn’t demotivating is the desire to change the world - surely there is no greater ambition?

But in the meantime (and working class people will face a MEAN time, sings the Lab-Lib-Tory party); ‘Did you watch the masterdebate, the other night?’ - Well you know that’s a real turn off. Well, did you enjoy the real-life ‘The Thick of it’ clip on B.B.C. news the other day? If only ‘politics’ was always so entertaining. Cheers Browno, why don’t you talk to more real people more often? Your cock-up almost had us engaged.*** Otherwise, we’re much more likely to be lost online.

So, topical election reference ticked Ö, let’s step back and fall down, down into the rabbit’s hole - why didn’t I take the blue pill? Why, when it’s more disappointing than Tim Burton’s latest film, as unsatisfactory as regurgitating these over familiar references within references? How many times can you eat your own vomit, exactly? Well the puke is relatively new - look on the bright side, here’s a suicide of clichés or two.

You want viral? Get a virus instead.

Oh, that’s far too one-sided; surely, in this technology we have the kernel for at least one of the ways we can share entertainment and culture in a non capitalist world? Oooh, I’m being just like Michael Moore, not wanting to scare you with the ’S’ word - oh, fuck it, if you DO know me, then you’ll be very likely to know what that is, but if you don‘t, here it is: SsS oooo cccc iiii aaaa llll iii sss mmmm.

But that’s too big subject right now - too big for social network addiction.
How many of us are there now?

59 million - 92 million - 107 million by this time next year - the forecasted projections look hotter than a Spanish desert, Tom.

FB not enough for you - stitch your avatar’s outfit together with some iconic patches:

Pose for the pic guys! Oooohh don’t you look lovely? We’re not nobodies; we matter. Let’s deny the filters; yet be proud of the artifacts of editing. Contradictory fuckers.

Just like those ‘eavenely office monkeys, everybody else does it (Aaah, my 5 year old nephew chatted to me on Messenger for the first time. Bless!). Under-stimulated college students FB hack rather than face up to the insulting future ‘offered’ to them by their edumployment training for jobs that increasingly don’t exist. But that’s too harsh and your teachers won’t admit it so while you think they’re not looking, smile proudly at your flattering onscreen illusion.

Not you? Well, whoever you are, let’s all enter the popularity contest of the mundane (I ‘m eating chips‘ LIKE LIKE LIKE). We all want to matter, to mean something, to assert our personality and dance on the table to the tune of ’I exist’, to some degree or another. But capitalism will always try to frame us into lazy duplicates; our words will be interpreted into the Simon Cowell language of ’fame’. A 1/1000th Warhol for you to Google, play with in ‘Paint’ and fuck the ã and user overload. It‘s ‘Queen’ Jordan’s lie of instant fame - designed to block all real inspiration - above all, to be inspired to organise collectively and change society to a world where the only people on the dole queue are the exploiters.

But an action always causes a reaction; resistance was always inevitable, but how to do it effectively? Techie subversives unite to burn music, if not dollars -Noughties D.I.Y. punks with all the incoherent, contradictory idealism as before. The more conscious use this technology opportunistically for what it’s worth, whilst the activists also do it knowing we need system change - and no, that‘s not an upgrade from Windows to Mac!

1, 2, 8, 333, 4000, 750, 000... 59 million …. 92 million ……even if the numbers are finite, you can’t help but be somehow impressed with the way big business has successfully commodified the memetic impulse for instant self expression and recognition.

But whether you either understand or agree with the concept that infinity itself is finite - those numbers ARE finite - even if we did live in a world where every singly human being, not one excepted, had access to decent housing, electricity, clean water and sanitation, free and accessible health services and a job with training and an income you can actually live on. But of course we don’t, so the optimistic plans of those Silicon Valley venture capitalists and chums for ever continuing growth will never be fulfilled. Damn all those inconvenient bastards, daring to live in internet no access areas such as slums, militarised factory camps, war zones or so -called ‘natural’ disaster areas. Just a few choice highlights for you from a list too long; a list which should never have existed in the first place.

And now away from such unpleasantness - put down your copy of ‘The Guardian‘ and have a sip of your Fairtrade Columbian. If you’re one of those - sigh - arty farty types, full of the satisfaction that unlike those inane FB morons, you’ve got something to say; don’t worry about getting a publisher - just press ‘click’. You can do it offline as well; buy ‘Write your story’ - £17.99 for an empty book. Just marvel at such capitalist marketing genius. Self expression sells especially well - in an independent bookstore, probably near a Buddhist temple, a deli, a musician’s late nite bar etc ra ra. But it may not be so available if you live on the wrong side of the hill. Sections of big business are astute enough to recognise a niche when they see one, so long as ‘culture’ is still kept manageably close to the elite or at least made accessible only to those trustworthy enough not to really challenge their power. Have a nibble, dogs.

But in that so-called subterranean world the majority of us actually inhabit, we are the most inventive and resourceful ones of all. Workers, in their ingenuity, have always managed to be creative with just the barest things, including, yes, such past oddities like bizarre soap sculptures featuring pins, crochet poodles to hide the shame of toilet paper or carved creatures of ivory by inspired sailors long gone. Surreal, even if ‘surreal’ isn’t usually known, and as worthy of attention and evaluation as anything those with ‘A room of their own’ could ever produce. Any opportunity, however limited - even, groan, in some witty word play in a status update or a childhood lost in Tony Hart or in thrall with Adam‘s war paint or seduced by George‘s hat and feathers.

Usually, we’ll only ever get hints of all the latent creativity and talent out there, unknown and unused. Unknown and used because we are the working scum expected to lap up the latest well connected ‘talent’ who - what a fucking surprise - just so happens to be the son or daughter of a rich and famous ‘somebody’. And when the talent from below (that we happen to admire) does break through and gains the recognition it deserves then we value it as if it was as precious as our own beating heart.

But we only know to well that they are the exception to the big business rule; billions of individuals with ideas, abilities and untapped brilliance are out there too with no such opportunity in this pyramid. The overwhelming majority of humanity who face huge to almost insurmountable obstacles to fulfill their true potential - whether that‘s creative, educational, social, political, scientific, organizational, sporting, technological, philosophical even - with any possible combination of the above - and undoubtedly there is SO much more again.

We’ll have to struggle for it - like we have to struggle for everything else. Struggle together, to actually release our full individuality.

* Manic Street Preacher lyric from 'Faster' on 'The Holy Bible'

** I took David Bodanis’ phrases from “E=mc2: A Biography of the World’s Most Famous Equation’ chapter 3 ‘Ancestors of E = MC2’. In the original text Bodanis wrote “(sic) scientists started using the = symbol as something of a telescope for new ideas - a device for for directing attention to fresh unsuspecting realms. Equations simply happen to be written in symbols rather than words”.

***For those weirdos out there who don’t live in the U.K. or follow U.K.politics -


  1. should read ' fuck the copyright symbol'

  2. also it might have been the red pill. My memory is hazy these days