Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Personal and family preparation is the first and longest step. Premature formal organization could eventually lead to a purge. The public eye is best avoided. Informal arrangements are another matter, and draw less attention. The individual has no place in this system other than choosing brands. A private arsenal could be quietly amassed before the complete abolition of the second amendment by well intentioned, weepy left-wing fascists. Common caliber rifles will be unnoticed and ammunition readily obtained.[15] Shotguns were outlawed by warfare convention for a messy reason. The average citizen can become a major irritant with hunting weapons. A cache containing camping equipment, and canned goods may be leisurely gathered over the decades. Allies may be gathered more slowly, based on long-term association, including police, active and former military personal, or government officials. Many shared sympathies are unseen due to social isolation caused by a technological society. Stop watching television, and talk to people. The aim is preparedness after a collapse, not immediate armed rebellion. The system is seen by many to be rightly superior to collapse. Once the checks start bouncing, many loyalties will be redirected on that day. Bigotry and classification are products of instilled propaganda. Those notions are best forgotten. Inbreeding leads to stagnation. The police and military are an extension of official policy. Many have only truly seen the situation while performing their duties -- not all are over-socialized swine. The usual justifying rhetoric is predictable, and offers nothing new. It plays right into the hands of the propagandist.

[15] An old M1-style peep sight may improve rate of fire over conventional modern sighting equipment. A miss is more easily, and quickly compensated by this World War I sniper technique. Any competent gunsmith can perform the necessary modification, or better learn that useful skill.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

The Society of the Spectacle 35-53


Chapter 2:
The Commodity as Spectacle

“The commodity can be understood in its undistorted essence only when it becomes the universal category of society as a whole. Only in this context does the reification produced by commodity relations assume decisive importance both for the objective evolution of society and for the attitudes that people adopt toward it, as it subjugates their consciousness to the forms in which this reification finds expression. . . . As labor is increasingly rationalized and mechanized, this subjugation is reinforced by the fact that people’s activity becomes less and less active and more and more contemplative.”

—Luk√°cs, History and Class Consciousness


In the spectacle’s basic practice of incorporating into itself all the fluid aspects of human activity so as to possess them in a congealed form, and of inverting living values into purely abstract values, we recognize our old enemy the commodity, which seems at first glance so trivial and obvious, yet which is actually so complex and full of metaphysical subtleties.


The fetishism of the commodity — the domination of society by “intangible as well as tangible things” — attains its ultimate fulfillment in the spectacle, where the real world is replaced by a selection of images which are projected above it, yet which at the same time succeed in making themselves regarded as the epitome of reality.


The world at once present and absent that the spectacle holds up to view is the world of the commodity dominating all living experience. The world of the commodity is thus shown for what it is, because its development is identical to people’s estrangement from each other and from everything they produce.


The loss of quality that is so evident at every level of spectacular language, from the objects it glorifies to the behavior it regulates, stems from the basic nature of a production system that shuns reality. The commodity form reduces everything to quantitative equivalence. The quantitative is what it develops, and it can develop only within the quantitative.


Despite the fact that this development excludes the qualitative, it is itself subject to qualitative change. The spectacle reflects the fact that this development has crossed the threshold of its own abundance. Although this qualitative change has as yet taken place only partially in a few local areas, it is already implicit at the universal level that was the commodity’s original standard — a standard that the commodity has lived up to by turning the whole planet into a single world market.


The development of productive forces is the unconscious history that has actually created and altered the living conditions of human groups — the conditions enabling them to survive and the expansion of those conditions. It has been the economic basis of all human undertakings. Within natural economies, the emergence of a commodity sector represented a surplus survival. Commodity production, which implies the exchange of varied products between independent producers, tended for a long time to retain its small-scale craft aspects, relegated as it was to a marginal economic role where its quantitative reality was still hidden. But whenever it encountered the social conditions of large-scale commerce and capital accumulation, it took total control of the economy. The entire economy then became what the commodity had already shown itself to be in the course of this conquest: a process of quantitative development. This constant expansion of economic power in the form of commodities transformed human labor itself into a commodity, into wage labor, and ultimately produced a level of abundance sufficient to solve the initial problem of survival — but only in such a way that the same problem is continually being regenerated at a higher level. Economic growth has liberated societies from the natural pressures that forced them into an immediate struggle for survival; but they have not yet been liberated from their liberator. The commodity’s independence has spread to the entire economy it now dominates. This economy has transformed the world, but it has merely transformed it into a world dominated by the economy. The pseudonature within which human labor has become alienated demands that such labor remain forever in its service; and since this demand is formulated by and answerable only to itself, it in fact ends up channeling all socially permitted projects and endeavors into its own reinforcement. The abundance of commodities — that is, the abundance of commodity relations — amounts to nothing more than an augmented survival.


As long as the economy’s role as material basis of social life was neither noticed nor understood (remaining unknown precisely because it was so familiar), the commodity’s dominion over the economy was exerted in a covert manner. In societies where actual commodities were few and far between, money was the apparent master, serving as plenipotentiary representative of the greater power that remained unknown. With the Industrial Revolution’s manufactural division of labor and mass production for a global market, the commodity finally became fully visible as a power that was colonizing all social life. It was at that point that political economy established itself as the dominant science, and as the science of domination.


The spectacle is the stage at which the commodity has succeeded in totally colonizing social life. Commodification is not only visible, we no longer see anything else; the world we see is the world of the commodity. Modern economic production extends its dictatorship both extensively and intensively. In the less industrialized regions, its reign is already manifested by the presence of a few star commodities and by the imperialist domination imposed by the more industrially advanced regions. In the latter, social space is blanketed with ever-new layers of commodities. With the “second industrial revolution,” alienated consumption has become just as much a duty for the masses as alienated production. The society’s entire sold labor has become a total commodity whose constant turnover must be maintained at all cost. To accomplish this, this total commodity has to be returned in fragmented form to fragmented individuals who are completely cut off from the overall operation of the productive forces. To this end the specialized science of domination is broken down into further specialties such as sociology, applied psychology, cybernetics, and semiology, which oversee the self-regulation of every phase of the process.


Whereas during the primitive stage of capitalist accumulation “political economy considers the proletarian only as a worker,” who only needs to be allotted the indispensable minimum for maintaining his labor power, and never considers him “in his leisure and humanity,” this ruling-class perspective is revised as soon as commodity abundance reaches a level that requires an additional collaboration from him. Once his workday is over, the worker is suddenly redeemed from the total contempt toward him that is so clearly implied by every aspect of the organization and surveillance of production, and finds himself seemingly treated like a grownup, with a great show of politeness, in his new role as a consumer. At this point the humanism of the commodity takes charge of the worker’s “leisure and humanity” simply because political economy now can and must dominate those spheres as political economy. The “perfected denial of man” has thus taken charge of all human existence.


The spectacle is a permanent opium war designed to force people to equate goods with commodities and to equate satisfaction with a survival that expands according to its own laws. Consumable survival must constantly expand because it never ceases to include privation. If augmented survival never comes to a resolution, if there is no point where it might stop expanding, this is because it is itself stuck in the realm of privation. It may gild poverty, but it cannot transcend it.


Automation, which is both the most advanced sector of modern industry and the epitome of its practice, obliges the commodity system to resolve the following contradiction: The technological developments that objectively tend to eliminate work must at the same time preserve labor as a commodity, because labor is the only creator of commodities. The only way to prevent automation (or any other less extreme method of increasing labor productivity) from reducing society’s total necessary labor time is to create new jobs. To this end the reserve army of the unemployed is enlisted into the tertiary or “service” sector, reinforcing the troops responsible for distributing and glorifying the latest commodities; and in this it is serving a real need, in the sense that increasingly extensive campaigns are necessary to convince people to buy increasingly unnecessary commodities.


Exchange value could arise only as a representative of use value, but the victory it eventually won with its own weapons created the conditions for its own autonomous power. By mobilizing all human use value and monopolizing its fulfillment, exchange value ultimately succeeded in controlling use. Usefulness has come to be seen purely in terms of exchange value, and is now completely at its mercy. Starting out like a condottiere in the service of use value, exchange value has ended up waging the war for its own sake.


The constant decline of use value that has always characterized the capitalist economy has given rise to a new form of poverty within the realm of augmented survival — alongside the old poverty which still persists, since the vast majority of people are still forced to take part as wage workers in the unending pursuit of the system’s ends and each of them knows that he must submit or die. The reality of this blackmail — the fact that even in its most impoverished forms (food, shelter) use value now has no existence outside the illusory riches of augmented survival — accounts for the general acceptance of the illusions of modern commodity consumption. The real consumer has become a consumer of illusions. The commodity is this materialized illusion, and the spectacle is its general expression.


Use value was formerly understood as an implicit aspect of exchange value. Now, however, within the upside-down world of the spectacle, it must be explicitly proclaimed, both because its actual reality has been eroded by the overdeveloped commodity economy and because it serves as a necessary pseudo-justification for a counterfeit life.


The spectacle is the flip side of money. It, too, is an abstract general equivalent of all commodities. But whereas money has dominated society as the representation of universal equivalence — the exchangeability of different goods whose uses remain uncomparable — the spectacle is the modern complement of money: a representation of the commodity world as a whole which serves as a general equivalent for what the entire society can be and can do. The spectacle is money one can only look at, because in it all use has already been exchanged for the totality of abstract representation. The spectacle is not just a servant of pseudo-use, it is already in itself a pseudo-use of life.


With the achievement of economic abundance, the concentrated result of social labor becomes visible, subjecting all reality to the appearances that are now that labor’s primary product. Capital is no longer the invisible center governing the production process; as it accumulates, it spreads to the ends of the earth in the form of tangible objects. The entire expanse of society is its portrait.


The economy’s triumph as an independent power at the same time spells its own doom, because the forces it has unleashed have eliminated the economic necessity that was the unchanging basis of earlier societies. Replacing that necessity with a necessity for boundless economic development can only mean replacing the satisfaction of primary human needs (now scarcely met) with an incessant fabrication of pseudoneeds, all of which ultimately come down to the single pseudoneed of maintaining the reign of the autonomous economy. But that economy loses all connection with authentic needs insofar as it emerges from the social unconscious that unknowingly depended on it. “Whatever is conscious wears out. What is unconscious remains unalterable. But once it is freed, it too falls to ruin” (Freud).


Once society discovers that it depends on the economy, the economy in fact depends on the society. When the subterranean power of the economy grew to the point of visible domination, it lost its power. The economic Id must be replaced by the I. This subject can only arise out of society, that is, out of the struggle within society. Its existence depends on the outcome of the class struggle that is both product and producer of the economic foundation of history.


Consciousness of desire and desire for consciousness are the same project, the project that in its negative form seeks the abolition of classes and the workers’ direct possession of every aspect of their activity. The opposite of this project is the society of the spectacle, where the commodity contemplates itself in a world of its own making.

Thursday, March 24, 2005


Insurrection is past its time for the current system. The machine is a deeply entrenched monstrosity that is invulnerable, short of nuclear warfare, capable of crushing any annoyances. Entropy will eventually take its toll. Any collapse will be systemically initiated via internal decay. Opposition only strengthens, by either demonstrating its benevolence or making an example of threats. All corpses decompose the same. Martyrdom is for suckers. The end can not be dramatically hastened. Patience sees few benefits in present society. Instant gratification will only frustrate. The reactionary and the radical have proven their desire for liquidation. This wish should be granted and accommodated. The alternatives are probably worse. Pronouncing their deaths is easy, and deserved. The Twentieth Century is steeped in the blood of those killed for ideals. Most would have preferred no involvement. Propaganda can supply the rationale for the herd. The individual can choose otherwise and sanely. The group has shown its inability. The herd should die with its system. The possibility can be anticipated, avoiding victimization by thugs and fascists.

Monday, March 21, 2005

The Society of the Spectacle 16-34



The spectacle is able to subject human beings to itself because the economy has already totally subjugated them. It is nothing other than the economy developing for itself. It is at once a faithful reflection of the production of things and a distorting objectification of the producers.


The first stage of the economy’s domination of social life brought about an evident degradation of being into having — human fulfillment was no longer equated with what one was, but with what one possessed. The present stage, in which social life has become completely dominated by the accumulated productions of the economy, is bringing about a general shift from having to appearing — all “having” must now derive its immediate prestige and its ultimate purpose from appearances. At the same time all individual reality has become social, in the sense that it is shaped by social forces and is directly dependent on them. Individual reality is allowed to appear only if it is not actually real.


When the real world is transformed into mere images, mere images become real beings — dynamic figments that provide the direct motivations for a hypnotic behavior. Since the spectacle’s job is to use various specialized mediations in order to show us a world that can no longer be directly grasped, it naturally elevates the sense of sight to the special preeminence once occupied by touch; the most abstract and easily deceived sense is the most readily adaptable to the generalized abstraction of present-day society. But the spectacle is not merely a matter of images, nor even of images plus sounds. It is whatever escapes people’s activity, whatever eludes their practical reconsideration and correction. It is the opposite of dialogue. Wherever representation becomes independent, the spectacle regenerates itself.


The spectacle inherits the weakness of the Western philosophical project, which attempted to understand activity by means of the categories of vision, and it is based on the relentless development of the particular technical rationality that grew out of that form of thought. The spectacle does not realize philosophy, it philosophizes reality, reducing everyone’s concrete life to a universe of speculation.


Philosophy — the power of separate thought and the thought of separate power — was never by itself able to supersede theology. The spectacle is the material reconstruction of the religious illusion. Spectacular technology has not dispersed the religious mists into which human beings had projected their own alienated powers; it has merely brought those mists down to earth, to the point that even the most mundane aspects of life have become impenetrable and unbreathable. The illusory paradise that represented a total denial of earthly life is no longer projected into the heavens, it is embedded in earthly life itself. The spectacle is the technological version of the exiling of human powers into a “world beyond”; the culmination of humanity’s internal separation.


As long as necessity is socially dreamed, dreaming will remain a social necessity. The spectacle is the bad dream of a modern society in chains and ultimately expresses nothing more than its wish for sleep. The spectacle is the guardian of that sleep.


The fact that the practical power of modern society has detached itself from that society and established an independent realm in the spectacle can be explained only by the additional fact that that powerful practice continued to lack cohesion and had remained in contradiction with itself.


The root of the spectacle is that oldest of all social specializations, the specialization of power. The spectacle plays the specialized role of speaking in the name of all the other activities. It is hierarchical society’s ambassador to itself, delivering its official messages at a court where no one else is allowed to speak. The most modern aspect of the spectacle is thus also the most archaic.


The spectacle is the ruling order’s nonstop discourse about itself, its never-ending monologue of self-praise, its self-portrait at the stage of totalitarian domination of all aspects of life. The fetishistic appearance of pure objectivity in spectacular relations conceals their true character as relations between people and between classes: a second Nature, with its own inescapable laws, seems to dominate our environment. But the spectacle is not the inevitable consequence of some supposedly natural technological development. On the contrary, the society of the spectacle is a form that chooses its own technological content. If the spectacle, considered in the limited sense of the “mass media” that are its most glaring superficial manifestation, seems to be invading society in the form of a mere technical apparatus, it should be understood that this apparatus is in no way neutral and that it has been developed in accordance with the spectacle’s internal dynamics. If the social needs of the age in which such technologies are developed can be met only through their mediation, if the administration of this society and all contact between people has become totally dependent on these means of instantaneous communication, it is because this “communication” is essentially unilateral. The concentration of these media thus amounts to concentrating in the hands of the administrators of the existing system the means that enable them to carry on this particular form of administration. The social separation reflected in the spectacle is inseparable from the modern state — the product of the social division of labor that is both the chief instrument of class rule and the concentrated expression of all social divisions.


Separation is the alpha and omega of the spectacle. The institutionalization of the social division of labor in the form of class divisions had given rise to an earlier, religious form of contemplation: the mythical order with which every power has always camouflaged itself. Religion justified the cosmic and ontological order that corresponded to the interests of the masters, expounding and embellishing everything their societies could not deliver. In this sense, all separate power has been spectacular. But this earlier universal devotion to a fixed religious imagery was only a shared acknowledgment of loss, an imaginary compensation for the poverty of a concrete social activity that was still generally experienced as a unitary condition. In contrast, the modern spectacle depicts what society could deliver, but in so doing it rigidly separates what is possible from what is permitted. The spectacle keeps people in a state of unconsciousness as they pass through practical changes in their conditions of existence. Like a factitious god, it generates itself and makes its own rules. It reveals itself for what it is: an autonomously developing separate power, based on the increasing productivity resulting from an increasingly refined division of labor into parcelized gestures dictated by the independent movement of machines, and working for an ever-expanding market. In the course of this development, all community and all critical awareness have disintegrated; and the forces that were able to grow by separating from each other have not yet been reunited.


The general separation of worker and product tends to eliminate any consistent sense of accomplished activity and any direct personal communication between producers. With the increasing accumulation of separate products and the increasing concentration of the productive process, accomplishment and communication are monopolized by the managers of the system. The triumph of this separation-based economic system proletarianizes the whole world.


Due to the very success of this separate production of separation, the fundamental experience that in earlier societies was associated with people’s primary work is in the process of being replaced (in sectors near the cutting edge of the system’s evolution) by an identification of life with nonworking time, with inactivity. But such inactivity is in no way liberated from productive activity; it remains dependent on it, in an uneasy and admiring submission to the requirements and consequences of the production system. It is itself one of the consequences of that system. There can be no freedom apart from activity, and within the spectacle activity is nullified — all real activity having been forcibly channeled into the global construction of the spectacle. Thus, what is referred to as a “liberation from work,” namely the modern increase in leisure time, is neither a liberation of work itself nor a liberation from the world shaped by this kind of work. None of the activity stolen by work can be regained by submitting to what that work has produced.


The reigning economic system is a vicious circle of isolation. Its technologies are based on isolation, and they contribute to that same isolation. From cars to television, the goods that the spectacular system chooses to produce also serve it as weapons for constantly reinforcing the conditions that engender “lonely crowds.” With ever-increasing concreteness the spectacle recreates its own presuppositions.


The spectacle was born from the world’s loss of the unity, and the immense expansion of the modern spectacle reveals the enormity of this loss. The abstractifying of all individual labor and the general abstractness of what is produced are perfectly reflected in the spectacle, whose manner of being concrete is precisely abstraction. In the spectacle, a part of the world presents itself to the world and is superior to it. The spectacle is simply the common language of this separation. Spectators are linked solely by their one-way relationship to the very center that keeps them isolated from each other. The spectacle thus reunites the separated, but it reunites them only in their separateness.


The alienation of the spectator, which reinforces the contemplated objects that result from his own unconscious activity, works like this: The more he contemplates, the less he lives; the more he identifies with the dominant images of need, the less he understands his own life and his own desires. The spectacle’s estrangement from the acting subject is expressed by the fact that the individual’s gestures are no longer his own; they are the gestures of someone else who represents them to him. The spectator does not feel at home anywhere, because the spectacle is everywhere.


Workers do not produce themselves, they produce a power independent of themselves. The success of this production, the abundance it generates, is experienced by the producers as an abundance of dispossession. As their alienated products accumulate, all time and space become foreign to them. The spectacle is the map of this new world, a map that is identical to the territory it represents. The forces that have escaped us display themselves to us in all their power.


The spectacle’s social function is the concrete manufacture of alienation. Economic expansion consists primarily of the expansion of this particular sector of industrial production. The “growth” generated by an economy developing for its own sake can be nothing other than a growth of the very alienation that was at its origin.


Though separated from what they produce, people nevertheless produce every detail of their world with ever-increasing power. They thus also find themselves increasingly separated from that world. The closer their life comes to being their own creation, the more they are excluded from that life.


The spectacle is capital accumulated to the point that it becomes images.

Saturday, March 19, 2005


The Oklahoma City bombing is not a blow for freedom. The Branch Davidians are not martyrs--simply dead. Information is generally not actively controlled, simply supplied at a constant accelerating rate inversely proportional to content. An exceptional memory would be required to fit many connections. The herd has no recall, and cannot admit its own faults.[13] The system is made stronger by any such acts, no matter the outcome. Optimal interpretations will follow any event. Any scapegoats will be hung out to dry, and replaced with someone essentially identical. Any opposition has been conditioned by the same system, and supports certain elements. Intellectuals are the most indoctrinated. The enemy of your enemy is not necessarily a friend. Good causes are usually bad ideas. The government provides and maintains basic sanitation and infrastructure.[14] The third world is not a far step away. The government exists on many levels, and provides some benefits. Many will pragmatically support the power structure based upon this consideration alone. Its disruptions would cause massive instability. Efficiency seems preferable to most. The slow death is more desired. The official power structure may not be violently overthrown, and will crush any perceived threat like a roach. Enemies are always needed. It will decay from within, and require broadening categories of subversive. Anyone interested in personal freedom would well advised to avoid notice. Martyrs should be given their wish. Entropy will take its toll. Many potential enemies will be destroyed, and possibly weaken the greater. The thought brings a smile...

[13] Or never ceases, which is far more irritating. The constant whining and humbleness before God is my main objection to the anti-natural tenants of Christian belief. Even creation is more realistic..

[14] Reliable epidemiological surveys have demonstrated that average life expectancy has increased about 35 years from the last century. Only 6 years is attributable to medical advances. The rest is prevention. How about a heaping glass of cholera?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

The Society of the Spectacle 1-15

This feature will periodically post sections from The Society of the Spectacle, which is probably the most influential text of the Situationist International. "The Situationist International was a highly intellectual and imaginative leftist student movement with strong Marxist influences, located primarily in France during the 1960s. What made the Situationist International different from traditional Marxist-Leninist political parties was not only it's critique of the capitalist system in ways which kept the (intellectual) reader's attention by using more up-to-date terms and a sense of humour, but also a critique of the authoritarian "Communist" Parties (origionaly referred to by the anarchist Mikhail Bakunin as "state capitalist" in response to Karl Marx, some time before the existance of the USSR & it's Bolshevik coup.)" Although I disagree with certain points, their propaganda is interesting and masterful. They also didn't have to blow people up to be heard. In addition, I appreciate that it is directed at society as a whole.

New translation of the book by Guy Debord, Paris, 1967.

Translated by Ken Knabb.

This translation is not copyrighted.

Chapter 1:
The Culmination of Separation

“But for the present age, which prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to the original, representation to reality, appearance to essence . . . truth is considered profane, and only illusion is sacred. Sacredness is in fact held to be enhanced in proportion as truth decreases and illusion increases, so that the highest degree of illusion comes to be the highest degree of sacredness.”

—Feuerbach, Preface to the second edition
of The Essence of Christianity


In societies dominated by modern conditions of production, life is presented as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has receded into a representation.


The images detached from every aspect of life merge into a common stream in which the unity of that life can no longer be recovered. Fragmented views of reality regroup themselves into a new unity as a separate pseudoworld that can only be looked at. The specialization of images of the world evolves into a world of autonomized images where even the deceivers are deceived. The spectacle is a concrete inversion of life, an autonomous movement of the nonliving.


The spectacle presents itself simultaneously as society itself, as a part of society, and as a means of unification. As a part of society, it is the focal point of all vision and all consciousness. But due to the very fact that this sector is separate, it is in reality the domain of delusion and false consciousness: the unification it achieves is nothing but an official language of universal separation.


The spectacle is not a collection of images; it is a social relation between people that is mediated by images.


The spectacle cannot be understood as a mere visual deception produced by mass-media technologies. It is a worldview that has actually been materialized.


Understood in its totality, the spectacle is both the result and the goal of the dominant mode of production. It is not a mere decoration added to the real world. It is the very heart of this real society’s unreality. In all of its particular manifestations — news, propaganda, advertising, entertainment — the spectacle represents the dominant model of life. It is the omnipresent affirmation of the choices that have already been made in the sphere of production and in the consumption implied by that production. In both form and content the spectacle serves as a total justification of the conditions and goals of the existing system. The spectacle also represents the constant presence of this justification since it monopolizes the majority of the time spent outside the production process.


Separation is itself an integral part of the unity of this world, of a global social practice split into reality and image. The social practice confronted by an autonomous spectacle is at the same time the real totality which contains that spectacle. But the split within this totality mutilates it to the point that the spectacle seems to be its goal. The language of the spectacle consists of signs of the dominant system of production — signs which are at the same time the ultimate end-products of that system.


The spectacle cannot be abstractly contrasted to concrete social activity; each side of such a duality is itself divided. The spectacle that falsifies reality is nevertheless a real product of that reality. Conversely, real life is materially invaded by the contemplation of the spectacle, and ends up absorbing it and aligning itself with it. Objective reality is present on both sides. Each concept established in this manner has no other basis than its transformation into its opposite: reality emerges within the spectacle, and the spectacle is real. This reciprocal alienation is the essence and support of the existing society.


In a world that is really upside down, the true is a moment of the false.


The concept of “the spectacle” interrelates and explains a wide range of seemingly unconnected phenomena. The apparent diversities and contrasts of these phenomena stem from the social organization of appearances, whose essential nature must itself be recognized. Considered in its own terms, the spectacle is an affirmation of appearances and an identification of all human social life with appearances. But a critique that grasps the spectacle’s essential character reveals it to be a visible negation of life — a negation that has taken on a visible form.


In order to describe the spectacle, its formation, its functions, and the forces that work against it, it is necessary to make some artificial distinctions. In analyzing the spectacle we are obliged to a certain extent to use the spectacle’s own language, in the sense that we have to move through the methodological terrain of the society that expresses itself in the spectacle. For the spectacle is both the meaning and the agenda of our particular socio-economic formation. It is the historical moment in which we are caught.


The spectacle presents itself as a vast inaccessible reality that can never be questioned. Its sole message is: “What appears is good; what is good appears.” The passive acceptance it demands is already effectively imposed by its monopoly of appearances, its manner of appearing without allowing any reply.


The tautological character of the spectacle stems from the fact that its means and ends are identical. It is the sun that never sets over the empire of modern passivity. It covers the entire surface of the globe, endlessly basking in its own glory.


The society based on modern industry is not accidentally or superficially spectacular, it is fundamentally spectaclist. In the spectacle — the visual reflection of the ruling economic order — goals are nothing, development is everything. The spectacle aims at nothing other than itself.


As indispensable embellishment of currently produced objects, as general articulation of the system’s rationales, and as advanced economic sector that directly creates an ever-increasing mass of image-objects, the spectacle is the leading production of present-day society.

Monday, March 14, 2005


The urban populations centers will continue their steady decline.[11] Public policy is most successful when directed toward that which the policy makers relate. Thus, public policy leans toward the interests of the suburban. Subtleties regarding urban and rural life will only be mutually grasped second hand. Hence, small towns and inner cities both slowly die, while the suburbs become the only acceptable lifestyle for many led to the conclusion. The rural has reacted with productive nihilism. The urban is fragmented, spawning unproductive nihilism via decadence.[12] Alienation has many outlets. Identification provides a sense of belonging, but these must not threaten stasis. The rural and urban regard the others turf as battlegrounds, while missing (or ignoring) their own exploitation. Common ground is never seen. This must change, or anyone capable of filling a power vacuum must be negated. The insanity produced by disorder might allow a few scores to be rectified. Unity is fascism.

[11] Gentrification creates suburbs.

[12] The nation of Islam may be the closest urban parallel. Its militancy has been focused in a similar manner, only different issues (although fundamentally economic).

Tuesday, March 08, 2005


The militia movement has become the traitor scapegoat, similar to black panthers and anti-vietnam war advocates, for the moment. Its power is exaggerated by constant exposure. Their real firepower is minuscule compared to a massive police apparatus, and the most powerful military on the planet. Citing constitutional precedence, the militia movement is comprised of many different types of people. However, a reactionary fringe seems to continually speak for all. Access is not a guaranteed right. The lowest common denominator justifies focus toward the extreme. Ratings improve. This does have the unintended consequence of uniting the movement. However, it could never prove threatening, unless backed by sympathetic military units. This must be avoided. Tim McVey was a veteran. Shared threads must be severed. During massive internal disorder, any such potential threats must be long neutralized. Power voids may only be filled by those capable. Perhaps, this senecio is better than the alternative. Popular fascism is worse, and uglier than mediocrity. Fuel lines provide the Achilles heel for any martial law decree. Only one hundred days of fuel are kept in the national reserve. This nation is built upon cheap energy. Central command might fall, but its replacement could be far worse. The sub-urban would support anyone capable of preserving their life. Edicts could not be uncontested. A junta need only control food sources and fuel. The USSR partly fell over shortages. Real feudalism is more undesirable than bastard capitalism.

Sound Familiar? The external enemy is even better. Is history in another such cycle?
-SRL 2005

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


1. Introduction - Part 3

The ruralite probably does not differentiate between the urban and sub-urban. The population centers are uniformly associated, and encouraged by blurring the distinction in the media. The entire area is referred by a single name: a metropolitan area. Propagandists have focused much attention on simplified inner city issues with images of welfare cheats, drug users, deviant behavior, impoverished minorities, illegal immigrants, gangs, criminals, the elusive counter-culture and other undesirable rabble. Common ground is completely lost among imagery and rhetoric. The news media concurs by appealing to the lowest-common denominator. The controlling big money interests expect returns on and off the balance sheet. National woes are set squarely on the backs of those unable to purchase access and defend themselves. Freedom of speech does not guarantee a venue. A statistical minority portrays a larger picture which projects upon everyone. Backlash is avoided by simultaneous division and unity to a higher, less tangible cause like patriotism. The federal budget deficit is attributable to valueless vermin, rather than the military industrial complex.[10] Each group realizes the falsehoods projected toward themselves, but believe the media image due to lack of fist hand experience. The information age may not prove to be so liberating, rather enslavement by incorrect false perceptions. Belief is a powerful motivator. Western culture has not progressed far beyond religious dogma. The fixations have changed. Modern man is a product of his psychology, essentially another self-fulfilling prophecy. Cause is confused and reversed with effectual relations. This spoon-fed population lacks any ability to focus. Docility is achieved through economics and entertainment. Decadent instincts are harnessed to maintain stasis. Energy is displaced toward the dangerous, violent and self-destructive. The villains created provide valuable targets to deflect mass frustrations. Real issues are obscured by emotionally charged non-issues, like school prayer, flag desecration and abortion. All issues regarding class are redirected by this technique. Television and other media delivers the message, while educational incompetence and mediocrity are never discussed. Stupid people deserve sensitivity? These sort just haven't been beaten enough. Diversions would prove less stimulating by those actually interested in learning. A thousand lies form a different untruth. All roads lead to similar places. Isolation breeds ignorance. The whole is not comprehendible due to its massive complexity, while individual threads can be followed. Popular mass psychology demands the opposite. The ego may be a false notion. Ignorance may never be admitted. The herd would die first. The omniscient delusions may be directed for maximum advantage. A war over oil becomes one fought for freedom: how reassuring! The isolation of the sub-urban is most complete. The rural and urban must deal with local matters due to proximity and necessity. Federal police must concentrate on these areas. The government outlaws all monopolies, but its own. Only corporations can steal. Those having lost most are set at each others throats as false opposites. The real enemy is common. Efficiency demands elimination of any subversive or potentially destructive elements. An opportunist will utilize these resultant opportunities, provided by the support system as paths-of-least-resistance, for maximum advantage. Vicarious and voyeuristic tendencies may be catered by propaganda.

[10] Note the complete lack of ethics possible in a moral society.