Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Post 1- The Society As a Spectacle


"In all that has happened in the last twenty years, the most important change lies in the very continuity of the spectacle. Quite simply, the spectacle"s domination has succeeded in raising a whole generation molded to its laws. The extraordinary new conditions in which this entire generation has lived constitute a comprehensive summary of all that, henceforth, the spectacle will forbid; and also all that it will permit." Guy Debord (1988).

Conformity? Ignorance? Apathy? Prejudice?
 Society of the spectacle is the development of a modern society in which authentic social life has been replaced unknowingly by the consumption of images "All that once was directly lived has become mere representation." Society in recent days has been controlled by the consumption of mass media in where movies, magazines, advertisements, cellphones, T.V., and many more that has ultimately led to advanced capitalism.

Debord describes the spectacle and its impact that the history of social life can be understood as "the decline of being into having, and having into merely appearing." It is within this idea "historical moments at which the commodity completes its colonization of social life." With the term spectacle, the system can easily be seen as a system that is in high power due to the few corporate companies that control the mass media, advanced capitalism, and the government who allows this cultural phenomena to continue "the spectacle, taken in the limited sense of 'mass media' which are its most glaring superficial manifestation".

 In Chapter 2 of Society of the Spectacle, the reader is able to connect with a theme that has been around for several of years, just to say the least. Debord writes: “Commodity is described as a product, and just as other product, it holds an economic value. At the moment of economic abundance, the concentrated result of social labor becomes visible and subjugates all reality to appearance, which is now its product” (Society as the Spectacle, Thesis 50). 

 According to  Debord, "The Spectacle is not a collection of images; rather, it is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images". This idea of spectacle is given form by Disney characters such as Snow White, Jasmine, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and many more.  Debord explains that through the spectacle society lives vicariously through fictional characters, celebrities, and commodities. Because society is demanding what the corporations are supplying, consumers eat up mass media as if it was The Last Supper. Young girls are taught from an early age from the wonderful corporation of Disney what they should look like, how they should act, and what they should ultimately grow up to be. If Disney movies does not due the trick, society has created a life model of what a women should like, Barbie. Whether it is Disney or Barbie Debord`s theory connects how  few corporate companies that control the mass media combined with advanced capitalism, and the government  allow this cultural phenomena to continue   Please watch the following video to further understand the connection between Debord`s theory of the spectacle and its connection with one of the top corporate companies in the world and its effect on young girls...

Debord defines the spectacle not as the images of cultural production, but as the social relations mediated through those images (Debord, Thesis 4). The spectacle’s pseudo-world exists only in viewing this world  but only experienced through a  screen. The experience of living amongst the spectacle creates a fragmented existence for  the competing ideologies, lifestyles, and aesthetics that perhaps other media is trying to break through to consumers. Furthermore, unless it has the face of a famous celebrity society is not interested. Debord’s explanation of celebrity posits that celebrities are  spectacles as living people are a total embodiment  a spectacular lifestyle (Debord, Thesis 60). Therefore, the celebrity is the consumers living pseudo-world spectacle.
Britney Spears
"The agent of the spectacle placed on stage as a star is the opposite of the individual, the enemy of the individual in himself as well as in others." (Debord, Thesis 61)

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