This Recording

In Which The Society Of The Spectacle Series Ends by Molly Lambert
March 2, 2008, 9:29 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

The Society Of The Spectacle, Part 3:

by Guy Debord, ed. Molly Lambert

Catch up on the earlier installments, Parts One and Two.

Disclaimer: I’m not trying to push Marxism on you. I cut the bulk of the most political stuff because frankly, I’m not advocating a coup d’état. What I do advocate, however, is an overthrow of the Celebrity-Industrial complex.

Wealth is not a virtue, and neither is fame. In American culture the ruling class is depicted everywhere, like a visible aristocracy. I would like it if more people aspired to be good rather than rich. But what the hell do I know, I’m a terminally broke blogstress. And so I give you, Part 3:

The spectacle, considered as the reigning society’s method for paralyzing history and memory and for suppressing any history based on historical time, represents a false consciousness of time.

The free space of commodities is constantly being altered and redesigned in order to become ever more identical to itself, to get as close as possible to motionless monotony.

While eliminating geographical distance, this society produces a new internal distance in the form of spectacular separation.

John F. Kennedy survived as an orator to the point of delivering his own funeral oration, since Theodore Sorenson continued to write speeches for his successor in the same style that had contributed so much toward the dead man’s public persona.

Culture is the general sphere of knowledge and of representations of lived experiences within historical societies divided into classes.

It is a generalizing power which itself exists as a separate entity, as division of intellectual labor and as intellectual labor of division.

The most modern tendency of spectacular culture — which is also the one most closely linked to the repressive practice of the general organization of society,

Seeks by means of “collective projects” to construct complex neoartistic environments out of decomposed elements.

As culture becomes completely commodified it tends to become the star commodity of spectacular society.

Clark Kerr has calculated that the complex process of production, distribution and consumption of knowledge already accounts for 29% of the gross national product of the United States;

He predicts that in the second half of this century the “knowledge industry” will become the driving force of the American economy, as was the automobile in the first half of this century and the railroad in the last half of the previous century.

Ideas improve. The meaning of words plays a role in that improvement.

Plagiarism is necessary. Progress depends on it. It sticks close to an author’s phrasing, exploits his expressions, deletes a false idea, replaces it with the right one.

The spectacle is the acme of ideology because it fully exposes and manifests the essence of all ideological systems: the impoverishment, enslavement and negation of real life.

The repression of practice and the antidialectical false consciousness that results from that repression are imposed at every moment of everyday life subjected to the spectacle.

A subjection that systematically destroys the “faculty of encounter” and replaces it with a social hallucination: a false consciousness of encounter, an “illusion of encounter.”

In a society where no one can any longer be recognized by others, each individual becomes incapable of recognizing his own reality.

Ideology is at home; separation has built its own world.

Imprisoned in a flattened universe bounded by the screen of the spectacle that has enthralled him.

The spectator knows no one but the fictitious speakers who subject him to a one-way monologue about their commodities and the politics of their commodities.

The consumer’s compulsion to imitate is a truly infantile need, conditioned by all the aspects of his fundamental dispossession.

The spectacle as a whole serves as his looking glass. What he sees there are dramatizations of illusory escapes from a universal autism.


In This Club – Usher Ft. Young Jeezy: mp3

This Whole World – The Beach Boys: mp3

Circus World – Guided By Voices: mp3

There’s A New World Just Opening For Me – The Kinks: mp3

Get High, Rule Tha World – Lil’ Wayne: mp3


Prolefeed and Newspeak

Angelina “Neocon” Jolie

Cultivation Theory kind of goes out the window when it comes to the internet. We’ll find a way to TIVO past those e-ads.

After retiring from acting, Bill Murray might be a Cubs announcer, according to actor Bill Murray.

Molly Lambert is senior editor of This Recording.


The King Of Comedy

Jayne Mansfield

Photosets Galore

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9 Comments so far
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Love the blog, so much so that I’m linking you. Hope that’s okay. See you around the Internets.


Comment by Craig

was the picture of the LHC particle accelerator at CERN meant to showcase modern spectacle? while it certainly owes its existence to multinational political maneuvering, it represents one of the most concentrated efforts in the history of science to examine the fundamental structure of the universe. is your inclusion of the LHC perhaps an example of ‘meaningful spectacle’ or just irony or a colorful picture? not sure what you were going for…

Comment by eps

[...] of the spectacle around in casual conversation, you really should check out this, this, and this, which contain photos with accompanying Debord aphorisms. It would be great for you to work into [...]

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I thought it was funny it looked so much like the Disneyland “Journey Of The Atom” attraction. Truth = Fiction!

Comment by Molly Lambert

[...] Research, or CERN, have played down the chances that the collider could produce, among other horrors, a tiny black hole, which, they say, could eat the Earth. Or it could spit out something called a [...]

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[...] Though there are antecedents to Mad’s style of humor in print, radio and film, the overall package was a unique one that stood out in a staid era. Throughout the 1950s, Mad featured groundbreaking parodies combining a sentimental fondness for the familiar staples of American culture, such as Archie and Superman, with a keen joy in exposing the fakery behind the image. [...]

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[...] But hey, that’s the essence of the Stiller formula, and ultimately it’s where he and Apatow diverge. Where Apatow’s comedy led to sensitivity and actual learning as in the sentimental and nostalgic Undeclared and Freaks and Geeks, the point of Stiller’s comedy is purely to entertain as spectacle. [...]

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[...] Part Three: Guy Debord & The Last Crusade Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)My first trackbackNo one who’s intelligent hates analyticsOn a Hiatus No Comments so far Leave a comment RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI Leave a comment Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> [...]

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[...] Guy Debord’s Society Of The Spectacle [...]

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