Monday, September 17, 2012
A society of spectacle is a society caught up in something so impressive and so striking that it can change out standards on how we think society should be. The commodity's is a product that temporarily satisfy our wants and needs "The fetishism of the commodity — the domination of society by “intangible as well as tangible things(36). I think it's interesting that Debord wrote this so long ago but it still is relevant today. It's safe to predict that his will be something that will continue to happen most likely till the world ends. There is no way that Debord was talking about the smart phone but , you can say he predict that a phenomenon like it would one day effect us as a culture. In my 20 years of like I have seen so many things go from" hot to not" in what seems to be a blink of an eye.
Debord starts the chapter by saying " The commodity can only be understood in its undistorted essence when it becomes the universal category of society as a whole."(Debord 35) He is basically saying something
( the commodity) is nothing until a large amount of people / mass media makes it something. Nowadays we as a society are so caught up in believing we need something , when in deeper reality, we as human being don't need it at all.Our needs are still needs but our wants have also turned into absolute needs. It can be something as silly as something you see on a late night infomercial or having internet on your phone. Yes having the internet on your phone is a nice feature , but in reality you don't really need it , but since everyone assumes everyone has one , it's a lot harder out here for simple folks. I know personally I just got a smart phone, an android for my birthday last January. I always thought the smart phones were cool and the apps that some people had were always admirable and they seem really convenient , however I never personally desired one so bad . I was content with my simple "gravity" phone , to talk and text and occasionally check Facebook ( a simple version). It seemed like my whole life changed once I started using my smart phone. It was like I was addicted. I was mesmerized by the apps and the convenient of essentially having internet where ever I go , I even joined twitter. I said to myself , " I'm never going back , I've totally been missing out!"
"The spectacle is a permanent opium war designed to force people to equate goods with commodities and to equate satisfaction with a survival that expands according to its own laws(44)" I think what Debord is trying to say here is again our wants have now become our needs. It can seem pretty forceful. People that live in impoverished homes still will go out and make sure they go get that new iPhone or new pair of sneakers. Equating satisfaction with a survival that expands according to it's own law is his way of saying that we feel like we won't be able to go on or won't be satisfied until we obtain the commodity.
When Debord says "Once society discovers that it depends on the economy, the economy in fact depends on the society.(52)" This supports my something I have been questioning and ponder for a while : does media control us or do we as society control media? Do we make something big on it's own or is it big because we are brainwashed to think so? Let's think about it , do you think the iPhone would be so popular if we didn't see some of our favorite people on t.v using it? Or could it be that the since the iPhone is one of the hottest things out right now , it's on t.v and what we see on t.v is just a small refection of our society ? Sometimes I feel like it's all a trick and a game. Not only with the iPhone but a variety of other non- essentials , like luxury cars, alcohol , make-up, hair products, clothes , etc. The companies of these products usually pay certain big face and endorse them to advertise their products to convince little people ( like us) to get it because this is the hottest thing out. For example how many times do we hear rappers talk about a specific liquor or actresses and singers on the commercials? It's all subliminal.