depersonalization: mission of a yuppie soul

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,

dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,

who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,

who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated,

who passed through universities with radiant eyes hallucinating Arkansas and Blake-light tragedy among the scholars of war,

who were expelled from the academies for crazy & publishing obscene odes on the windows of the skull,…( Allen Ginsberg, Howl )…

---Just as in Europe, we are seeing the results of colossal social failure. The occupiers are the very sort of people, brimming with ideas, whose energies a healthy society would be marshaling to improve life for everyone. Instead, they are using it to envision ways to bring the whole system down. But the ultimate failure here is of imagination. What we are witnessing can also be seen as a demand to finally have a conversation we were all supposed to have back in 2008. There was a moment, after the near-collapse of the world's financial architecture, when anything seemed possible. Everything we'd been told for the last decade turned out to be a lie. Markets did not run themselves; creators of financial instruments were not infallible geniuses; and debts did not really need to be repaid – in fact, money itself was revealed to be a political instrument, trillions of dollars of which could be whisked in or out of existence overnight if governments or central banks required it.--- Read More:

Simon Houpt:Launched during this month’s Fashion Week in New York, the Common Threads Initiative is a partnership with eBay that provides an online clearinghouse for people who want to sell their used Patagonia clothing. Rather than fighting to attract attention amid the bazaar of more than 50 million items on the auction site, individuals will be able to leverage the power and presence of Patagonia: The second-hand items will be posted on both eBay and the main Patagonia website. …

---Perhaps, it's not surprising. It's becoming increasingly obvious that the real priority of those running the world for the last few decades has not been creating a viable form of capitalism, but rather, convincing us all that the current form of capitalism is the only conceivable economic system, so its flaws are irrelevant. As a result, we're all sitting around dumbfounded as the whole apparatus falls apart. What we've learned now is that the economic crisis of the 1970s never really went away. It was fobbed off by cheap credit at home and massive plunder abroad – the latter, in the name of the "third world debt crisis". But the global south fought back.--- Read More: image:

…Which is to say, Common Threads reinforces t

ompany’s counterintuitive approach to business, under which a potential drop in revenue may be a positive development. And as consumers increasingly say that companies should stand for something other than mere profit – and, more importantly, that they should put their beliefs into action – the initiative may provide a glimpse of the future of business.

In Patagonia’s case, the company is requiring everyone who wants to sell second-hand wear through the new eBay co-venture to sign a Common Threads pledge. That commits its customers – morally, if not legally – to abiding by five environmentally conscious precepts, including the obligations to Reduce (“buy only what I need”) and Reuse (“I pledge to use what I have, sell what I don’t need, and buy used when I can.”) …Read More:

---Jean Genet, (1949):Can you feel the degradation? Allow your hands to wander inside your uptight bourgeois pants and feel the excitement of my squalor. But don’t stop there! I can give you so much more if only you will open your flies to me. Lose your suburban values and embrace the negative hell of the poet of the woebegone.Read More: image: Adbusters

Is the Patagonia creed just a self-serving iteration of bourgeois ethics, an engagement with the consumer and a continuing of the market based exchange process?

Christopher Caudwell,(1935):Bourgeois relations, too, developed. In the famous bourgeois booms and slumps, they show the potential decay of the system. This decay was retarded by Imperialism, that is, by forcibly imposing on other countries the ‘natural rights’ of the bourgeois. In these backward countries the bourgeois right to trade profitably and to alienate and acquire any property was forcibly imposed. Here too the bourgeois, out of his dominating relation to a thing, secretly imposed his dominating relation over men, which can yet be disguised as democracy, for does not democracy declare that all men are equal and none may enslave the other? Does it not exclude all relations of domination – despotism, slave-owning, feudal privilege – except the ‘innocent’ domination of capitalist over ‘free’ labourer?…

…But in this imperialising, a new situation arose – external war instead of internal violence and coercion. For now, in exploiting backward countries, or, it was called, ‘civilising’ them, one bourgeois State found itself competing with another, just as inside the State bourgeois competes with bourgeois….

---Oct. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor, said Wall Street bankers don't believe they've been embraced by President Barack Obama and are consequently withholding their support. “Wall Street certainly doesn't feel loved,” Buffett told Charlie Rose in a Sept. 30 interview broadcast on PBS. “I think there was some rhetoric that contributed to that.” ... “You take the number of people making a million dollars or over on Wall Street and you can fill a very large auditorium,” Buffett said. “I think the president felt, ‘My God, look at all the things we did for business, and they're unappreciative, and I'm all that stands between them and the pitchforks.'”Read More:

But inside the State bourgeois competes with bourgeois peacefully, because it is the law – and this law was established for their own protection against the exploited. The laws forbidding one bourgeois to seize another’s property by force arose as the result of the need to prevent the have-nots seizing property by force. It is an internal law, the law of the coercive State. If it had not been necessary for the existence of the whole bourgeois class for them to be protected against the seizing of their property by the exploited, the law against the forcible seizure of private property, coercively enforced and taught to the exploited as a ‘necessary’ law of society, would never have come into existence. For the individualistic, competitive nature of bourgeois trade (each ‘getting the better’ of the other) is such that no bourgeois sees anything wrong in impoverishing another bourgeois. If he is ‘bust’ or ‘hammered’ – well, it’s the luck of the game. But all unite as a class against the exploited, for the existence of the class depends on this. If it is a case of a battle royal inside the bourgeois class, each bourgeois believes by nature and education that, given an equal chance, he will get the better of the other. This eternal optimism of the bourgeois is seen in the historic bourgeois appeals for ‘fair-play’, ‘fair field and no favour’, and all the other allied bourgeois slogans which express the ethics of the ‘sporting’ English gentleman. Read More:

Lloyd Blankfein. Jean Genet ( 1949):I dressed as a woman and went to Tangiers with Maurice and Robert, occasionally allowing myself to commit an act the gravity of which gave me consciousness. Oui, I was ennuyé. It is no boast to say I was a clever thief, but still I went to prison where I found security in a world that had rejected me, offering up my mobile buttocks to anyone who showed interest. Michaelis wanted me to love him, yet I taunted him with abstinence when I met Java, a muscle-bound Stilitano. Java still liked to go with whores, but occasionally he would let me thread myself inside him when he was asleep, crying out in anger when I made him come. I then met * – I cannot mention his name because he is still alive, though maybe only in the Sartrean sense in which je suis – and we pleasured one another as an SS guard told us of the joy he got when he could see tears in the eyes of the victims he was about to kill....Read More: image:

Houpt:The pledge is another step in the company’s decades-long history of promoting an agenda of environmental awareness. Already, it offers an impressive amount of information on its own environmental and social impact, with a comprehensive section on its website outlining the production processes of its various garments. “Clear is the new clever for marketers,” explained Mr. BonDurant. “If you tell a customer exactly what you’re doing, it becomes a human company, it’s no longer a label.”… Introduced in 2005, Common Threads began as a way of ensuring worn-out Patagonia wear didn’t end up in landfill. After they were done with their clothing, customers could send it back to the company for recycling. The clothes are broken down into their native components, and reformulated into new fabric – and, in time, new clothes.

“We believe our responsibility for the product doesn’t end when the customer buys it,” Mr. BonDurant said. “Our responsibility ends when it has been returned to us for recycling.” Read More:

---What's different is largely the target: where in 2000, it was directed at the power of unprecedented new planetary bureaucracies (the WTO, IMF, World Bank, Nafta), institutions with no democratic accountability, which existed only to serve the interests of transnational capital; now, it is at the entire political classes of countries like Greece, Spain and, now, the US – for exactly the same reason. This is why protesters are often hesitant even to issue formal demands, since that might imply recognising the legitimacy of the politicians against whom they are ranged. When the history is finally written, though, it's likely all of this tumult – beginning with the Arab Spring – will be remembered as the opening salvo in a wave of negotiations over the dissolution of the American Empire. Thirty years of relentless prioritising of propaganda over substance, and snuffing out anything that might look like a political basis for opposition, might make the prospects for the young protesters look bleak; and it's clear that the rich are determined to seize as large a share of the spoils as remain, tossing a whole generation of young people to the wolves in order to do so. But history is not on their side.---Read More: image:

Caudwell:Thus originated the cleavage between conservatives and liberals, between the big bourgeois in possession and the little bourgeois wishing to be in possession. The one sees that his position depends on maintaining things as they are; the other sees his as depending on more bourgeois freedom, more votes for all, more freedom for private property to be alienated, acquired, and owned, more free competition, less privilege.

The liberal is the active force. But so far from being revolutionary, as he thinks, he is evolutionary. In striving for bourgeois freedom and fair competition he produces by this very action an increase in the social restraints he hates. He builds up the big bourgeoisie in trying to support the little, although he may make himself a big bourgeois in the process. He increases unfairness by trying to secure fairness. Free trade gives birth to tariffs, Imperialism and monopoly, because it is hastening the development of bourgeois economy, and these things are the necessary end of bourgeois development. He calls into being the things he loathes because, as long as he is in the grip of the bourgeois illusion that freedom consists in absence of social planning, he must put himself, by loosening social ties, more powerfully in the grip of coercive social forces….

Amanda Knox. ---Kuspit:We are all members of the society of the spectacle, which is correlate with capitalist society. Warhol, who presciently called himself a business artist, was also a celebrity artist, that is, a servant of the society of the spectacle -- an artist who, like it, preferred appearance to reality -- who celebrated appearance at the expense of reality, indeed, used it to obscure and deny reality. The society of the spectacle is a postmodern society, in that it has given up on external as well as internal reality, treating both as codified appearances. It has given up on what psychoanalysts call reality testing. Modern art grappled with both realities, dialectically teasing out their inherent esthetics -- the esthetics of their own dialectical relationship -- which became its own reality. Postmodern art subsumes modern art -- and reality, internal and external -- by reproducing it as a cultural code: one among many, and thus of no special consequence. Postmodernism kitschifies modern art and its modern reading of reality, and reality as such. In postmodernity and postmodern art the shock of the new becomes the schlock of the neo, as a New York saying goes, and reality is de-realized and de-personalized, completing the much acknowledged process of alienation and dehumanization in modernity and modern art ...Read More: image:

…This ‘revolutionary’ liberal, this hater of coercion and violence, this lover of free competition, this friend of liberty and human rights, is therefore the very man damned by history not merely to be powerless to stop these things, but to be forced by his own efforts to produce coercion and violence and unfair competition and slavery. He does not merely refrain from opposing bourgeois violence, he generates it, by helping on the development of bourgeois economy.Read More:

Houpt:But Patagonia believes it has the ability to do so, since it has a history of sacrificing profit for ideals: It was an early proponent of organic cotton, a more expensive alternative to conventional fabric. And it isn’t afraid of offending potential customers by taking controversial political stands. At a trade show in Salt Lake City last month, it dispensed with the usual sale-oriented materials at its booth and instead used its presence to promote the cause of Tim DeChristopher, a climate change activist sent to jail in July for interfering with a 2008 auction of oil and gas leases….

Kuspit:I might emphasize that I mean derealization and depersonalization in their psychotic sense: the postmodern society of the spectacle -- in which art is part of the spectacle and makes a spectacle of itself -- is a psychotic society. Derealization involves "an experience or perception of the external world as unreal, strange, or alien, as it were, a stage on which people were acting." Dare one say performing in a spectacle? Depersonalization involves "a feeling of emotional detachment or estrangement from the perception of self, as if one were acting in a play or observing one’s physical and mental activity from without." It is the feeling one has watching oneself perform. The so-called defamiliarizing effect that modern art has been said to aim at, and that has been reified in postmodern art, may be a psychotic symptom. Read More: image:

…“We want to bring attention to the issues that matter to us,” Mr. BonDurant said. Still, he admitted, “I think the other metric we have to put in the equation is the amount of hate mail that we get from those that say, ‘You know what Patagonia? I love your clothes, I don’t like your message – stick to your sewing machines.’ That’s when we know we’re on message, because we’re willing to lose customers in order to remain absolutely true to our mission.”… Read More:


Peter King:Market-based economies, by definition, give a commodity an exchange-value apart from any use-value it may have. Yet production for exchange rather than use treats people as no more than depositories of production goods regardless of whatever use-value these goods may possess. This dehumanizes people by treating them as mere consumption machines, a side-effect of commodification. Furthermore, production for exchange systematically affects and distorts production goods—their salient feature is their exchangeability rather than their utility—and this has objectionable effects on people….

---I was born in Paris in 1910. My mother was a whore and I have my roots in the parched bones of the children who were massacred by Gilles de Rais. There was no precise time I became a thief, just a metempsychosis of Uranus that saw me graduate from the Reformatory to the Foreign Legion and thence to the piss and shit of the sewers. Stilitano and I travelled through Czechoslovakia, Poland, Italy and Germany, becoming spies and finding a purity of evil idealism in the SS. I longed to play with the cellulose grapes that hung from his member while he pushed me away like the bitch I was. I wanted him to beat me. I became his noble valet, reduced to even greater humiliations, and even now I am reduced to verbal automatism in thrall to his deity.---Jean Genet. 1949 . Read More: image:

…These are powerful and general objections to market economies. Before examining them we need to consider a counter-argument that tries to prevent them from gaining a foothold against market socialism in the first place. The defender of market socialism could say that there is an unjustified move from the claim that market socialism permits goods to circulate on markets to the claim that production under market socialism is for exchange rather than use. Production for exchange might be morally objectionable, but market socialism need not incorporate production for exchange. The market could function as a neutral means solely for the purposes of distribution. Therefore, the objections sketched above miss their target, no matter how the sketches be filled in.

This counter-argument correctly identifies the assumption that market socialism structures production for exchange rather than use. I think the assumption justified. Production is either directly for consumption (use), or it is not. If production is directly for consumption, then markets are pointless. If, on the other hand, exchange under market socialism were no more than a neutral means of distribution, then it could easily be replaced by better distributive mechanisms. Markets are no more than venues for barter, according to this line of reasoning. Yet there are better ways to coordinate production and consumption. The paradigmatic instance is the ‘ride board’, a public bulletin board where some people look for travel companions and others look for means of travel. Here there is no market, nor any centralized planning, but only a pool of information out of which individuals arrive at cooperative arrangements. The contemporary cousin, electronic bulletin board services, suggest how such a method for matching service-providers to service-seekers could be expanded—to say nothing of the cooperative endeavors suggested by computer newsgroups, discussion sections, and the Net itself. Centralized planning, decentralized planning, information pools, coordination channels, subsidized bartering—there are many alternatives to markets. Setting up a competitive market is a less than optimal solution if the intention is to provide a neutral mechanism for distribution.

Yet even if we grant competitive markets to be the most efficient means for coordinating production and consumption, which seems patently false, ex hypothesi production is not directly for use. What else could it be for if not exchange? One reply is that there is no single thing that production is ‘for’. Read More:

…who cowered in unshaven rooms in underwear, burning their money in wastebaskets and listening to the Terror through the wall,

who got busted in their pubic beards returning through Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York,

who ate fire in paint hotels or drank turpentine in Paradise Alley, death, or purgatoried their torsos night after night

with dreams, with drugs, with waking nightmares, alcohol and cock and endless balls,

incomparable blind streets of shuddering cloud and lightning in the mind leaping towards poles of Canada & Paterson, illuminating all the motionless world of Time between,

Peyote solidities of halls, backyard green tree cemetery dawns, wine drunkenness over the rooftops, storefront boroughs of teahead joyride neon blinking traffic light, sun and moon and tree vibrations in the roaring winter dusks of Brooklyn, ashcan rantings and kind king light of mind,

who chained themselves to subways for the endless ride from Battery to holy Bronx on benzedrine until the noise of wheels and children brought them down shuddering mouth-wracked and battered bleak of brain all drained of brilliance in the drear light of Zoo,

who sank all night in submarine light of Bickford’s floated out and sat through the stale beer afternoon in desolate Fugazzi’s, listening to the crack of doom on the hydrogen jukebox,

who talked continuously seventy hours from park to pad to bar to Bellevue to museum to the Brooklyn Bridge,
…. Ginsberg, Howl.

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