I want to learn more about "the spectacle" and how society is almost certainly manipulating how I feel...

I want to learn more about "the spectacle" and how society is almost certainly manipulating how I feel. I guess start with pic related? But what else?

Also, is Noam Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent any good or is it about a different topic?

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libcom.org/files/Imbeciles Guide to the Spectacle1.pdf

Debord's work on the spectacle is lacking in depth, scope , interpretation and clarity. The spectacle is not political, it is not a conspiracy of CEO's and politicians, it is the self-consuming virtuality in which such things take place. If you want to learn about the spectacle, spend a few hours browsing twitter, especially the "weird twitter" parts, that infinite regress of irony, those signals that are their own transmitters.

Lol, I feel like my own "research" using social media is coloured by my own bias, and I end up just engaging in the spectacle anyway.

What else should I do, and what else should I read?

really, you find it lacking? is it not worth reading, because I was thinking of buying that book and reading it soon

Listen to these for a decent start:

I suggest you read a paragraph or two online first, it's on marxists.org
I agree with , its ok for inspiration and it does make you think, but it is not a concise book in any sense of the word.

It's great, actually.
Zizek even admits that.

thanks for the advice

Whats it about?

Do any of you fuckers have this in PDF?

There is of course Debord himself, who coined the term that allows our conception, although Heidegger gives a much deeper, meta, form of conception to imagine the spectacle.

I don't think you can gain an unbiased understanding of the spectacle by passively receiving texts written on it, those texts are heavily biased themselves. To see what I understand as the spectacle, take a look at someone you know personally who is active on social media and communicates there almost solely in memes in the circlejerk of irony about ingroup jokes about irony about ingroup jokes and compare that presence to the person you actually know, this detachment of the spectacular allows it to be brought in view.

I find it lacking in explanation and form, being mostly a collection of snippets, a chain of comments on the spectacle.

I also disagree with Debord on the spectacle (while using his description of the spectacle as "That was once directly lived having become mere representation") being rooted in commodity production. I see the spectacle as rooted instead in technological enframing, technology itself (not as much as cause but as infrastructure), the enlightment and the marketized enframing (freedom being freedom of choice in the supermarket of existence).

An example of my view of the spectacle is a skinhead I know (not the nazi type) who knows everything about skinhead culture, skinhead bands, skinhead style and skinhead history, he's essentially a skinhead nerd. I watched a documentary with him on the origins of skinheads, which lie in the working class youth of racially mixed neighborhoods in 1960's Britain. Those weren't skindhead nerds, they didn't even call themselves skinheads, they simply liked dance hall music, polo shirts, harrington jackets, football and short cropped haircuts. From them, an image of the skindhead entered the spectacle that the skinhead I know bases himself on, his identity is not a representation of his being, but an image for his being to be modeled onto. This guy sees himself as more authentic than others, who simply go with the flow of things -as the original skinheads did- who don't have a subculture to model themselves on, whose conformism is not a conscious choice for a defined image. In the spectacle, culture is sub-culture, it is fandom, nerddom, "community" in the sense of the gaming community, the lgbt community, the metal community… communities of which none are actually communal.

What it misses is the irony of Chomsky being a media darling himself, if the spectacle were indeed instrumental in the dominance of capital, it would make Chomsky a pariah. This irony is equally missed by the French theorists who lectured at the École Normale Supérieure.

libcom.org/files/Imbeciles Guide to the Spectacle1.pdf

do you really think the society of the spectacle lacks depth and scope? have you ever tried to read it? debord never said it was polittical, it is mainly economic and also not a conspiracy. you dont know about this

here you can find translations in many languages: monoskop.org/Situationists some are very bad translations

Chomsky already addressed that having a few minority voices that were wheeled out every few years, and given a few minutes to talk about complex issues that require hours, would actually only bolster consent in this context.

Interesting perspectives man

The Partially Examined life is doing a Debord episode in a week or two.



My comment that it isn't a conspiracy isn't a direct criticism of The Society of Spectacle but a general statement towards views regarding the spectacle. I differ with Debord in that I don't see the spectacle as mainly economic, or at least not anymore.

Which illustrates how Chomsky's worldview doesn't differ from run-of-the-mill conspiracy nutters in its essense. First of all, it is begging the question in the sense all ultimate defenses of conspiracies do (the Illuminati is a secret organization that rules the world and there being no evidence for this proves how powerful they are). Secondly, it is simply wrong, Chomsky and his appearances are what lead many people to anti-capitalism in the first place. Its incorrectness even follows from the work itself, if media narratives dominate political opinion then those who are made pariahs by the media will be marginalized as a result in political opinion, consent will be the consent of the media, which consents to Chomsky. Chomsky also acts contradictory to this notion, if Chomsky being a media darling is actually a function of the spectacle as instrument of capital, then he is an instrument of capital himself and would serve his anti-capitalism best by refusing to be used as an instrument of capital by voicing his criticisms of capitalism in the media, which he doesn't do. This leads to the conclusion that Chomsky is either being opportunistically wrong here or a willing servant of capitalist interests who only pretends to be a leftist as to serve capital.

Thank you.

What do you think of Baudrillard's work? I'm not much into media studies, but it seems that he overcomes your criticism while avoiding the technological determinism present in the notion of enframing and avoiding the longing for a lost authenticity.

I have never read Baudrillard so I don't know what you are referring to. Can you give me a link?

Essentially, Baudrillard follows Debord's critique in SotS although claiming that the spectacle, as a distinctly modern phenomenon that still contained a relation between the signifier and the signified is over, that any appearance of an authentic life is simulated and self-referential. There is no longer any direct relations to the economic, the relationship between the superstructure and the base has collapsed into the superstructure. He sees the possibilities of resistance in pre-modern forms of exchange in which there is no general equivalent, surplus, or value. I've uploaded his main work on media here, he lays out the basics in the first chapter.

I was lurking and I don't know shit about this stuff so sorry for my ignorance. But what does this mean? I mean I always thought it is not possible to avoid "being shaped" by cultural identity. I mean if a man grew up alone in a forest he would not have a real "identity" (as in he would not have an easy replicable representation in society) but a person in whatever cultural environment is bound to have his identity forced on him by socialization in whatever environment, modern or not. So the identity I always thougt it can be representative of your being but first and foremost a kind of "fixed star" on which people shape themselves on: to explain with a stupid example, a knight in ancient europe would think "I AM a knight so I shoud do x" wether he does it or not it is not important but the fact that he put himself and the world in the ideological framework is not avoidable. I fail to see how this "being shaped by the artificial identity" is boud to modern world (spectacular society?). If someone has the time/goodwilling to explain I would appreciate a lot and again I don't know shit about this all I just shat out all this stuff from my brain

stop being a brainlet

It describes how media works and is used for propaganda in the USA.

Roles and stereotypes were already analysed as part of the spectacle by Vaneigem (the other situationist) in The Revolution of Everyday Life. It's pretty insulting to claim that the SI's concept of Spectacle is limited and not broad enough and then present your view as something novel and broader when it is in fact already present as part of the situationist concept.

SotS can be a bit hard at first. You will probably still pick up useful things from it but it will mostly leave you confused and angry. If you need some easy introduction to Situationist ideas, I recommend Spectacular Times:

For a more serious one, the Imbeciles Guide is good:

As a minimum, you should understand the first chapter of Capital vol.1:
Lukács' chapter on reification can also help, although it's probably not necessary:

After reading SotS, you should also read Comments on the Society of the Spectacle. Sometimes it is actually recommended to be read first, because it is much easier to understand. It's up to you.

I would also read The Revolution of Everyday Life by Vaneigem, and probably some of the more important texts from the anthology:

its not about that. the media as debord puts it is the most superficial aspect of the spectacle. the spectactle are human relations mediated by images. which we are experiencing here btw

i dont get how the spectacle in debords term is a conspiracy. the word spectacle has been interpreted in many ways and most of the diminished understanding of debord notion of the spectacle comes in the form of liberal media studies. the spectacle is not a conspiracy because it is not attached to a specific group. its a system the evolution of capitalism in its modern stage. other authors call it advanced capitalism or postfordist

I was talking about Manufacturing Consent though

ok what i understand is that it is not an issue about identity, its about alienation. identity is socially imposed on the individual an it is alienated if its against your better self. in that sense the spectacle prevents us of real relationships with other people and the world because we just experience this relations by the distortion caused by the spectacle and not directly. the images of the spectacle are not necessary only the media but all the cultural aspects that are produced by the socioeconómic system of capitalism. something like this? i dont know i only shat this from the top of my head also

Well thanks you shat something that was somewhat useful. I think I'll read the fucking book sometime but you know I have to read everything I'm very poor on theory

Use spicy memes to disrupt the spectacle

It's an update of Marxist philosophy from the 1890s to the 1960s, which I think is enough to appeal to any communist. Marx wrote a critique of political economy, while largely leaving out detailed work about other topics (such as the state) in his most fundamental works. The Situationists tried to combine everything Marxists laid out in the 70 years since Engels passed and to analyze society on their own and combine everything all of this entails into a single framework that can serve as an understanding of the capitalist system back then. Doing stuff like that is very complicated and it doesn't seem like anyone made it accessible to all of us in the meantime, meaning it is mostly left to the very educated and well read folks.

Spectacle? The Spectacle is the undisturbed flow of modern capitalism. It's capitalist alienation (mandatory separation of one's produces towards exchange and valorization) and commodity fetishism (the valorizing of commodities beyond their actual exchange values) driven to the extreme. It's social relations mediated by images, obscured as relations between commodities. It's life reduced to a passive meditation about commodities.

In modern capitalism commodities require advertisement to compete, therfore the decision to consume the commodity you do has already been made for you:
Thus, because your wants and needs are transmitted via media (advertisements, TV shows, etc.) you are never doing anything but acting out the choices already made in the productive sphere (next year's fashion trends are decided when this year's line enters production, the movie you watch has been approved by movie execs to already prototype the next, etc.), therfore you never "live" in the market. It's the natural progression of evergrowing alienated production following capital's trajectory. The images which surround commodities have overtaken the commodities themselves in importance for capital.
(What I put between square brackets here are some excerpts from SotS, within which a lot of points are presented like this in numbered bullet points.)

It's worth noting to everyone not aware that the Situationists were left communists, developing their own form of externally political Marxism by borrowing from e.g. Bordiga (even if they weren't Leninists) and Pannekoek (even if they were not particularly council communist), much like within post-Situationism, where lie the autonomists, anarchist side of communization and Marxist side of communization. Post-Situationism is most of left communism now because Situationism, much like what on its sat inside the historical left, rather conclusively hit its own theoretical limits quickly after giving us a new potential beginning point to look at modern capitalism again, understanding that this development has in a rough sense domesticated the proletariat to capital and has rendered the bourgeois almost superfluous in relevance.

The proletariat as domesticated because no longer does the worker sit in the traditional factory unit, clearly identifying his exploiter in the high room in a top hat, and wherever this productive relation does exist the spectacle has managed to sufficiently recuperate the relation between capital's functions, breeding what Zizek would aptly call the impotent postmodern father figure (nice western Buddhist boss man treating you like your equal). The bourgeoisie as superfluous because productive developments no longer necessarily require a personified capital (bourgeoisie) in order to redress productivity and plan the next move on the market, largely to do with this confluence and automation.

One such post-Situationist is Gilles Dauvé, who wrote a pretty good critique of them you can read here: libcom.org/library/critique-situationist-international-gilles-dauve.

To expand on this, in most Situationist theory, and this is because the Situationists were directly a part of it, May '68 is seen as the death bed of workers' movements in their traditional form: the final breath; the last ditch attempt at confronting capital with proletarian militancy. Trotskyists, revolutionary trade unionists/syndicalists and most other types of primarily activistic and workerist types of socialists are a prime example of the utter impotence of this strategy today, and slowly but surely they too will either realize their contemporary futility and develop or will completely dissolve as factions within the left.

Another thing I think we should praise the Situationists on is that they started the critique of the cadre. The cadre is the name given to the group of intellectuals that fancy themselves revolutionary. To this group belong types like militant academia and others that believe in the inculcating mode of "building class consciousness". They in every way stand outside of the class struggle but see themselves as its highest expression. The Situationists say that these are if anything the biggest stumbling block for any future workers' movement because unlike even the Leninists who will look for spontaneity and coalesce it into a revolutionary programme in the vanguard, the cadre already premeditate their revolutionary programmes and conclusions and exist already as vanguard, ready to push through what they want and have concluded is to be done at all costs rather than, at least to the credit of the Leninists, taking the desire as it exists in worker militancy and weaponizing it in that form. Urgent and orgasmic viewing material: youtu.be/JeSx0g-PnaE?t=21m54s.

Oh shit! The lottery, the game shows, reality TV.

Oh Shit! Again that's like 90% of everything on TV. Sedentary people looking down on obese people. Comfortably poor looking down on welfare recipients.

The spectacle truly is the key to understanding society.

Some of his concepts are interesting and could be plugged into another system of thought, but that guy saw theory as a pleasurable game of no more value to him than playing checkers, he didn't even really care about practical application or validity.
He's too far up his own ass, but some cool stuff could come out of it; like hegel and the young hegelians.

Found another good one: Lefebvre (based structuralist Marxist in the ranks of Ranciere, Althuser, Lacan, etc.) analyzing the Situationist movement: notbored.org/lefebvre-interview.html. I really like reading constructive takedowns of the Situs because the Situs in opening up pandora's box with their realizations in their historical position started drawing their own conclusions and stances from them immediately that were obviously bound to be really underdeveloped, nihilistic or even shit. Any critique thus effectively immediately gives us a new answer of where better to look.

Basically. You have to keep in mind though and develop a view of this that doesn't just the superficial expression of these things as such, but the mechanistic workings of wage-labor and value that generate and valorize it all. The spectacle truly is but the capitalist mode of production as it dawned upon mankind but in complete confluence.