Monday, September 17, 2012

Society of the spectacle

     The Society of the Spectacle is a machine designed to create a false sense of reality through the use of images that society can relate to. When we log onto our Facebook accounts, everyone of our friends are crammed into one little page on our computer screen. Now in real life if a person wanted to connect with all of his or her friends at the same time it would have to be at some sort of High School Reunion. Being face to face with our peers we can get a sense of what is real and happening in their lives even talk about our own.

     When we look at  Facebook we see images of people smiling, showing off their bodies after losing weight, and hanging out at the bar. Many of us stop there and go no further beyond the images, taking everything we see as truth. The appearance that all is well is given through these simple images. In the photo above everyone is at the bar drinking and having a good time but, something is missing. The something or someone who is missing is you, the spectator. Everyone is passing you a beer saying you should be here drinking beer with us. Through this simple image it says many things to the viewer, it is a silent form of manipulation or peer pressure.
      Debord describes the Spectacles as "the nightmare of imprisoned modern society which ultimately expresses nothing more than its desire to sleep. The spectacle is the guardian of sleep" (Debord 11) Debord's quote reminds me of the film The Matrix and, the scene where Neo is shown  humans hooked to machines in a slumber. The humans were kept in a state of slumber by a machine who created an alternate reality for the humans through dreams.  The humans were totally unaware that they were really sleeping and thought that this world created by the machine was their reality.
     The Spectacle can have a negative impact on a person because it can rob a person of ones true self and his or her own wants in life. Debord goes on to say that "a man may forget his own desires and take on the desires of another without conciously knowing it.(Debord) The machine as I call it is designed to expell these images for the viewer to intake. Images of new cars, a cold six pack, and a trip to LasVegas are all created and are placed in places we travel day to day not to mention in larger than life scale. A person see's these things after presumably having a clear head and says "ooh yeah I could use a cold six pack after work" or "damn I could use a new car like that one." After seeing the image of the new car my current one is no longer good enough and I suddenly want a cold sixxer after work. After seeing the images these thought were placed into the unsuspecting persons head.  I say unsuspecting because if a person is knowledgeable of how this all works he laughs and brushes it off and decides when and if he wants a beer or a vacation on his own terms.
     The Commodity is defined by Debord as "the domination of society by intangible as well as tangile things,....where the tangible world is replaced by a selection of images which exist above it." (debord 36)
Therefore the commodities are the things we desire to possess, or a certain  lifestyle we wish to live, a world that is unreal and part of the spectacle. The things that we possess that create an alternate reality based on their value in another's eyes or what we perceive them to be. Take for example someone has a product to sale. This person markets the product in a way that's appealing to your senses and tells you that this product will lead to better social interactions. After being sucked into this made up reality that this product is what we need to better our lives  it becomes something we want and need. Of course all we are purchasing is a lie that will be replaced by the new bigger and better product.
The following link is an article about media brainwashing and how media affects a persons life.

Works Cited
Debord, Guy. Society of the Spectacle. Detroit: Black and Red, 1977. Print.


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