|Looks like Bad Buddhist is also a bad Marxist, I'm genuinely sad to say. I kinda wanted to be good at one of them.|
While Marx made some bizarre predictions (seriously, a revolution that actually accomplishes an egalitarian society and is the culmination of human history — forever?), he also gave us a way to talk about tricky stuff like false consciousness.
(Just to get it out of the way: Marx's critique was hot even if his conclusions were wack. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Also, some Marxist lingo comes from his fan club, not himself; I use what I like.)
Back to bad Buddhism: false consciousness is a lot like maya, the "veil of illusion" that keeps us thinking our ego-bound perceptions of reality are real. The difference is that maya just exists — it's how the world was when we all got here — whereas false consciousness is something engineered for the purposes of exploitation and social control.
Also, with maya, knowing about it can help you not get too caught up in it. But with false consciousness, there's no vaccine — not for me, anyway. I've been stung. Infected. A plague is upon my house.
I am in love — or at least kind of mentally getting it on — with a bourgeois hero.
Two, in fact, though each is so necessary to the package that they function as a single unit. Individually they are David and Victoria "Posh Spice" Beckham. Together they are dVb.
I am so fascinated by them (it?) that I have caught myself saying things like "retextualizing low culture as high culture" and "appropriation of the absurd as an assertion of the individual". She designed her own wall sconces, you know! When the art world refused to let her in, she turned her own home into a gallery and her life into a runway show. As for the sanctified arbiters of taste, she went DIY on their asses. Didn't she! Didn't she!
However, now that she's getting thumb-uppage right and left, she is just another bourgeois hero. The myth or subtext of dVb is this: The way to attain ultimate happiness is to divest oneself of ordinary personhood through the transformative magic of Lots and Lots of Money. Creativity, chutzpah and canny dress sense don't count for beans without it. The money is the mojo.
And Posh is its high priestess. Her sacred name is Hyperrealia. She is annihilated on the altar of the culture industry (a conveyor belt of beauties for sale, interchangeable anonymous models daily upgraded and improved) and resurrected as the Ur-Mother of them all. Through money she becomes Herself.
Whoa. What just happened? Where am I? What time is it?
Maybe I'll calm down if I get this off my chest: it's an excerpt from Elle magazine's recent dVb love-orgy:
[Victoria] disembarked picture-perfect from the plane at LAX on July 13, her famously unsmiling self groomed to the nines, nary a blond hair out of place, wearing an Azzedine Alaia black dress, mile-high heels, and humongous black sunglasses, with an Hermes Birkin bag on one arm and her grinning soccer star husband on the other. . .
Next stop? Beverly hills. Imposing wrought iron gates open in slow motion to a long, narrow drive lined by towering hedges. Parked in front of the $22 million dollar manse is a black Bentley Continental GTC with monogrammed VB headrests and a Lincoln Navigator bearing David's soccer number, 23, on the seats and front grille. Ten security guards resembling Chippendales dancers walk the grounds. In England, ex-Special Forces agents patrol the couple's 24-acre estate, whith its 1930s Georgian-style house — a former government-owned children's home. Dubbed "Beckingham Palace," the residence is Grade II listed (yes, even property there is defined by class), which deems it "a particularly significant building of more than local interest." There they re-created the ancient Irish church in which they were wed in 1999 — on matching thrones, with Victoria wearing a crown. "I enjoy sending it up," she says.
This is just gross and creepy, right? I cannot allow myself to dig dVb, clearly. I mean, what response can any decent Marxist soul have other than horror, repulsion, lament for the sorry state of our culture? You can take one look at them and know it's over: for us, for America. We're done. Decadence is the final and fatal stage of empire. Our heroes will get dumber even as they get richer, and so will we. And when we stop getting richer and start getting poorer (because of all the dumb things we did to get richer) we'll cling just as needfully to the pretty pictures.
Ack, sorry. There I go again.
I don't want to end this post on such a doomsday note, so to cleanse the blog aura I will invoke Keri Smith as an antidote to the bourgeous hero. Keri is one of those creative and sensitive souls who have a knack for sharing their talent without getting all superior about it. I met her at a conference once. She's lovely. It's worth taking a little tour of her site; I especially liked her create-a-thing-a-day month and the ad-free blog project.
And I promise to read two sutras for every trashy article I read about you-know-who.
P.S. Do I get extra credit for managing to include a Mork and Mindy reference in this post? Not sure what I'm talking about? Then SOMEBODY didn't follow all the links!
|What fan club? Here they are: Marxist MVPs! Art (c) Mike Mosher 1999, 2008.|
Would I be happy? Would I? Would you?
Whoa — hot robot alien Stepford wives!
This project offended lots of people who put ads on their blogs and who believe bloggers should be able to make some revenue off of their work. I agree with that in principle, but I also appreciate some ad-free space now and then. How 'bout you?