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Monday, January 27, 2014

Guy Debord and why am I posting another stupid picture of stupid Thickie Jr.?

I remember back when I was a copy monkey at a weekly newspaper, and we would play games with the staff writers' copy. No doubt it's hard to pump out an article every week (I did so on top of proofreading 40 hours a week, of course, but that doesn't count because I started out obscure and therefore... well, it just didn't count), so I guess you could cut them some slack.

But nonetheless, some writers lean awfully hard on certain words. Although, for example, I admire his work as a journalist very much, Ben Joravsky, as a writer, should be fined for every additional occurrence of the word "clout" after using up his per annum allowance of 600 or so.

And if even the good writers could get on your nerves... well, after years of hearing a certain film critic insert a humblebraggy reference to his student days in Paris in every other paragraph week after week, I'd also like to cut copious slack for the person (who shall unfortunately have to go uncredited due to lawsuits and other unpleasantness) who got the bright, nay, brilliant idea to do a search and replace on all of his copy, replacing every instance of the word "Paris" with "my pants."

That was fucking hilarious. "Back in 1968, when I was enjoying an intellectual-rich opening reception in my pants..."

Now for the less hilarious uses of search and replace. Hell-o, shitty reality! I was reading this passage from Guy Debord's La Societé du Spectacle (speaking of my pants) today:

The spectacle presents itself as an absolute given*, inaccessible, and never up for discussion. It says nothing except: "What appears is good, and what is good, appears." The attitude that it demands we take on principle is that same passive acceptance which it's really already nabbed by appearing unopposed, through its monopoly over appearances.

...and I realized it would be even better, troooooth-wise (if even worse for one's tenuous mental health), if one replaced the word "spectacle" with "life."

The problem really transcends the politics of any one time or place, after all...

...although I have to hand it to Debord, this particular trough of panem et circenses does seem to be getting more nauseating and alienating by the news cycle.

*I realize this is a weirdish translation for " une énorme positivité," and yeah, it only gets half of the meaning of positivité, which I could have translated from French philosopy-ese straight into English philosopy-ese ("positivity"), but that's rather lazy. Nothing like having to guess whether a translator actually knows what the hell the passage means. Anyway, "positivity" could mean "good thing" or it could mean "given," but for the sake of clear and simple English I went with the latter, since the "good thing" idea is reiterated in the next sentence anyhoo. (Of course, the "it's a given" idea is reiterated in the SAME sentence, but for the sake of the meaning I took from it I chose to emphasize the idea that the damn thing's shoving itself down your throat. See what a lousy business this is?)

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