Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Spectacle Takes Three

A few weeks ago my barista friend told me that our other friend told her that I could tell her about the spectacle.

"He said it would take three weeks to figure out. So what is it?" she asked.

I began telling her that it would take immense mental effort and rigorous training to put ourselves to the task and come to grips with the spectacle. In short, I was having fun with this new relationship we had developed around the possibility of understanding something neither of us can get outside of to fully comprehend.

Every time I see her in the cafe I write down a new quote from Guy Debord's Society of the Spectacle and pass it on while I pay for my drink. She then gives me a wry look as she studies the quote and then asks me if it's like any of the following:


"No, that's just one particular manifestation, and it's too overt to cover everything."

"Class consciousness?"

"Well, it's definitely ideological, but it's more like a massive infestation of false consciousness."

"Dominant discourse?"

"That's sort of the idea. But it's much broader than that. All discourse, possibly."

She now tells me that whatever I'm giving her is just another spectacle, and I told her that seems correct given that the spectacle's means and ends are identical, "endlessly basking in its own glory," as Debord wrote. At any rate, it's been roughly three weeks and while some progress is being made, nothing conclusive has been established.

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