Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Vincent Miller and Frederic Jameson; Postmodernism and consumerism

I took a break from lectures at Chautauqua. The topic of the week has to do with Ethics and Capitalism and I was hoping that we would hear a bit about the ethical weakness in current American free markets and how we might address them. But, Dionne, Niskanen and Friedman were making the case for the ethics OF Capitalism... how capitalism is ethical in and of itself (that is friedman and dionne more than niskanen) Anyway... I've been reading Vincent Millers' Consuming Religion and so I'm just putting up his summation of Frederic Jameson

The scintillating cascade of cultural symbols and practices is driven by the voaracious appetite of capitalist production, not by the dynamisms of the traditions from which they are drawn. Commodities and cultural objects are best suited to their task when their conditions of orgin are masked. Traditional resonances are welcomed only insofar as they deepen their aura of desirability. commodification drives both the postmodern circulation of cultural wares and their evisceration. It demands ever more and ever shallower things....
We consume so many things that we simply do not have the mental energy to consider their origins. this abstraction has effects that go far beyond providing 'moral insulation' for the gluttonous postmodern consumer. This abstraction of the commodity from its production simultaneously sunders consumption from production, futher reinforcing alienated passivity.'

Frederic jameson; Postmodernism, or, the cultural logic of late capitalism

Word for the day: Simulacrum; 1. a slight, unreal or superficial likeness. 2. an effigy, image or representation

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