Monday, September 17, 2012

Commodity of the Spectacle

Guy Debord's "Commodity of the Spectacle" delves into the replacement of normal social life and habits practiced in modern society by our social media. Debord sees that social relations between people that have become deeply mediated by images and representations. The idea of "commodity" has transformed capitalism into the "spectacle."  

"The world of the commodity is thus shown for what it is, because its movement is identical to the estrangement of men among themselves and in relation to their global product" (37). Like the spectacle, the commodity is a visual idea built upon a visual culture that perceives the spectacle as a reality.  What commodity does is turn a single market entity into a world entity. The commodity affects society when capitalism takes over. “The world we see is the world of the commodity.” (42)

What is important to understand with Debord's "Commodity of the Spectacle"is that “once society discovers that it depends on the economy, the economy in fact depends on the society.” (52)  The spectacle society spreads through cultural consumptions of entertainment by advertising and commercializing the media culture through various mechanisms.  It delivers a false reality in our minds with useless visualizations and knowledge and in turn have control of what we do and how we think. 

The process of the spectacle is maintained by Debord's idea of "separation." It is a separation of yourself from your daily routines such as work, home, from people, from places, and so on. Debord explains the idea of separation when images become materials.  Products are made from this "hyper-reality" in the media.   We as a society are living this "hyper-reality" through these products we continue to consume. 

Despite Debord's "Commodity as a Spectacle" was written during a different time, it still corrolates with today. This is because we will always be dependent on the spectacles.  We are essentially buying into images and knowledge, but the misunderstanding is we are not gaining information and understanding it. We are merely taking in information and not learning from it.  It is all recycled information that everyone is viewing. Every advertisement, every product, every television show, is geared towards the general audience. We don't realize how much has changed because of the use of propaganda until you look back.

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