Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Society of the Spectacle
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. That is the essential message of 'the spectacle'. It's purpose is to distract those of us in society who are easily thrown off the scent of what real life is. With images like the one above, people, usually younger are easily swayed away from dwelling too long on images that are more readily seen such as the one below.
The spectacle is a distraction. It's purpose is to confuse people's need for survival with desires for satisfaction. The spectacle can look like money. It has become a representation of what an entire society can be and do with money. "If I can just get that car, this high paying job, that beautiful woman over there, everything will be ok."
At this point though, money itself has no actual value or 'use value' as Debord describes it. That is where commodity comes in to play. Debord explains that 'commodity is the materialized illusion.' In other words, commodity is everything that we see around us that represents the material world. If it distracts us from what is going on around us, then that is a commodity.
That is what the commodity as spectacle represents. When society was based less on material objects, money had more value. Unless you had actual money; cash on the barrel head so to speak, you had nothing. Now in today's capitalistic world of credit lines and layaway plans, people can project the illusion of financial success in today's world economy. It doesn't take much more than a promise on the dotted line to look like a success.
The man behind curtain pulls the strings that guides our eyes away from whats really going on. Glimmering in the light are the shiny objects that take our breath away and our individuality along with it. In its place is left those standing on the corner in Armani suits or Louboutin shoes with an iPhone in their hand or maybe a new pair of hipster glasses and skinny jeans. The spectacle found the human need to fit in and is now exploiting it to new heights as the technological revolution can let everyone see what the other person they never met or will meet is doing. Welcome to the spectacle of the 21st century!