Now that I’m a fully graduated bachelor of political science, I can justify spending time writing things that I won’t be graded on. While not the best excuse I could come up with for not updating my blog in nearly a year, it will have to do for now. So instead of tackling complex moral issues, rambling about space, or ranting about stuff most people don’t even think about, I’m going to briefly give an update on what I’m reading, and what my thoughts on that are. I don’t remember exactly how I heard about Debord, but I found myself enraptured by his text La Société du spectacle, or The Society of the Spectacle.
Considered by many to be a landmark text in Marxist thought in the later half of the twentieth century, Debord effortlessly exposes and critiques the material conditions that have defined social relations in the modern capitalist era. I’ve read up to chapter 5 and it already has altered the way I interpret media. Without going into too much detail, Debord believes that capitalism has invaded relations between individuals by reducing our mutual interactions to a mere exchange of images. This modern state of affairs is a direct byproduct of the class struggle according to Debord, and it functions to render impossible the proletariat revolution as predicted in the materialist account of history. It is very theoretical sounding, and I don’t think I possess a robust enough Marxist background to provide a summary that gives it justice, but having read lots of Marx and Engels as an undergraduate, it is refreshing to read Debord’s response to their works. I will post a more thorough collection of my thoughts, but as of now I don’t feel like I can give this text the review it deserves having only read a third of it. It’s free online (see the link above) and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in such matters.
On a less arcane note–actually, I’ll just save that for the next post.