Cultural Fetishism

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Reply Fri 5 Feb, 2010 03:21 pm
Religion is the opiate of the masses. Marxism is the opiate of the intellectuals.

Marx wrote of commodity fetishism. But Marx himself serves as a fetish for others. But Marx is not so hot these days. There are better examples.

I can imagine earnest college kids clinging to their copies of Joyce's Ulysses as their parents might have once clung to their Bibles. The reverence/idolatry hasn't changed but only the fashion.

Of course this is not aimed at everyone. I'm suggesting that we all undergo a sort of intellectual/cultural evolution in which we learn to think for ourselves. Can we skip the idolatry phase? I doubt it. But this is an opinion, not a proposition.

Young men must have mustangs or mohawks or marx, drugs dreads or derridas. We are the same old Bible-thumbing rabbit-foot carrying species. Or not. I report. You decide.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Fri 5 Feb, 2010 03:25 pm
@Reconstructo,
I think when we cling to things like that, it is because we are wrestling with our identity. Everyone wants to know who they are. But if you start saying "I'm a buddhist" or "I'm a marxist" then it becomes hard to reject them them, because they are part of you.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 5 Feb, 2010 03:50 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;125195 wrote:
I think when we cling to things like that, it is because we are wrestling with our identity. Everyone wants to know who they are. But if you start saying "I'm a buddhist" or "I'm a marxist" then it becomes hard to reject them them, because they are part of you.


Right. I think the force that runs contrary to cultural fetishism is what harold Bloom calls the anxiety of influence. At some point, if we are cocky or vain enough, we start to fancy ourselves as name brand. We no longer want to be just a member of someone else's club. We want to be what Bloom calls a strong poet. We want to be quoted ourselves. Of course this could be more rare than I realize. I may be projecting my own bad case of influence-anxiety.

This internet age has made many of the mediocre obsolete. As distribution increases, the value of uniqueness also perhaps increases, as one can skip the middleman.

I might be wrong of course, but I don't think truth is the goal of inquiry, not really. I prefer the pragmatist notion of adjustment. We just want to get more comfortable in our environment. But then the notion of truth is perhaps one of our favorite toys.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 5 Feb, 2010 04:08 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;125193 wrote:

I can imagine earnest college kids clinging to their copies of Joyce's Ulysses as their parents might have once clung to their Bibles.


Way behind the times. If they clung to any book it would be "The Catcher in the Rye". But most don't read at all. They twitter.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 5 Feb, 2010 04:11 pm
@Reconstructo,
It's a risky thought but perhaps the purest cultural fetish is one's own name. But then the transcendence of fetishism is preferable to that perhaps. Is "transcendence" just the name of a temporary emotion? Perhaps, but it's better than nothing.

Is silence the best note in music? Is empty space the ideal sculpture? Tune in next time.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 5 Feb, 2010 04:17 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;125232 wrote:
It's a risky thought but perhaps the purest cultural fetish is one's own name. But then the transcendence of fetishism is preferable to that perhaps. Is "transcendence" just the name of a temporary emotion? Perhaps, but it's better than nothing.

Is silence the best note in music? Is empty space the ideal sculpture? Tune in next time.


Could you explain this post?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Fri 5 Feb, 2010 07:00 pm
@Reconstructo,
I would also like to mention the power of fame to bias us. We assume that the most famous names are the most worthy of study. Often they are. But sometimes not. Is Foucault as valuable as he is famous? This is a question of opinion of course, but F tends to bore me.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Fri 5 Feb, 2010 07:20 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;125305 wrote:
I would also like to mention the power of fame to bias us. We assume that the most famous names are the most worthy of study. Often they are. But sometimes not. Is Foucault as valuable as he is famous? This is a question of opinion of course, but F tends to bore me.


And what does the fact that someone bores you show? Lots of different people bore lots of different people. So what?
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 6 Feb, 2010 07:54 pm
@Reconstructo,
One man carried his Bible. Another his Derrida. Neither have read their book closely. Both feel quite special indeed as they sit in Starbucks, book quite visible but not too obviously on display. Both feel elite.

A guy with a attractive girlfriend comes in sees both "readers," and grins. He looks at his lady's ears.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 15 Feb, 2010 12:36 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;125315 wrote:
And what does the fact that someone bores you show? Lots of different people bore lots of different people. So what?


I get bored with all the tomes, man. So many words to say so little sometimes. I liked some of Sartres plays and novels, but Being and Nothingness I don't have the patience for. I admit it.

It certainly matter to me if something is boring. It matters to us all as individuals.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 20 Feb, 2010 03:45 pm
@Reconstructo,
Man seems like an innately idolatrous animal. I see too (pseudo-)escapes from this. 1. He can make an idol of his own future or ideal self. 2. He is sometimes absorbed in love, fear, anger, etc., and his idolatry is not conscious. This ties in with "ethical self concept" and the "anxiety of influence."

I realize it's not an issue that interests everyone. Instead it's of interest to those especially whose ethical self concept is involved with self-creation. In other words, it's an issue for narcissists.
 
sometime sun
 
Reply Sat 20 Feb, 2010 10:02 pm
@Reconstructo,
I think if i am understanding this so far that what you perscribe as cultural fetishism i went through.
It was my athiest faze, being an un-being.
Perhaps we go through this in differing degrees as we age and our culture changes as does our own regard, our own importance, our own position, our own narcissus. All of which can be bled from you. Better to sweat it out.

Whom ever become trodden on becomes less inclined to both culture and fetishism. Unless they change challenge this to a form of masochism. Probably why self harm and the like is on the increase for this abuse to find identity on discovering no one is willing to help you shape it.
But whom ever does the treading long live their fairy tale, ian, ist, ism or otherwise, none of which were born to confine but do so when a matter of being the treader so as not to be trodden.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Sat 20 Feb, 2010 10:43 pm
@sometime sun,
sometime sun;130470 wrote:

Perhaps we go through this in differing degrees as we age and our culture changes as does our own regard, our own importance, our own position, our own narcissus.


I currently see this fetish in intellectual-evolutionary terms, but this if of course just my transformation of the theorized fetish.

For me, progress is the trading of worser idols for better. I feel that narcissim is the root of idolaty. We want to ally ourselves with the power. But if we become self-conscious of this, we can cast off the borrowed robes and declare our future ideal selves as our idol. This is romantic-Satanic egoism,I suppose. But it's not that simple really. I should make a clear that "satanism" is my sense of the word is just self-as-god or self-as-the-measure.

Our cultural fetishes are self-serving from the beginning. The Marxist is the hero. The atheist is a here. The Christian is a hero. The philosopher is a hero. The anti-philosopher is a hero. The clarity-man is a hero. The think-outside-the-box man is a hero. It seems to boil down to continuous heroic role-play. It's just that we can change the hero mask sometimes. The cultural fetish is the mask.

But this is just a psychological hypothesis.
 
sometime sun
 
Reply Sat 20 Feb, 2010 11:22 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;130490 wrote:
I currently see this fetish in intellectual-evolutionary terms, but this if of course just my transformation of the theorized fetish.

For me, progress is the trading of worser idols for better. I feel that narcissim is the root of idolaty. We want to ally ourselves with the power. But if we become self-conscious of this, we can cast off the borrowed robes and declare our future ideal selves as our idol. This is romantic-Satanic egoism,I suppose. But it's not that simple really. I should make a clear that "satanism" is my sense of the word is just self-as-god or self-as-the-measure.

Our cultural fetishes are self-serving from the beginning. The Marxist is the hero. The atheist is a here. The Christian is a hero. The philosopher is a hero. The anti-philosopher is a hero. The clarity-man is a hero. The think-outside-the-box man is a hero. It seems to boil down to continuous heroic role-play. It's just that we can change the hero mask sometimes. The cultural fetish is the mask.

But this is just a psychological hypothesis.

What we are called against what we call ourselves.
A hero must overcome something, does this self hero-ship mean that the overcoming the trial and battle we give ourselves is self served.
We either have to battle the self and win something better,
Or we dispence with the battle and make ourselves the prize not realising all the while that what you have given your self is self served not self earned.
Maybe we are not the prize afterall?
All dependant upon what we call ourselves before we are called anything else.
Would you rather dub your self knight or be crowned a fool?
We think we can gift ourselve more of the self same self so when we are taken from there will still be something left over.
Natural you might say but delusional also.
Why when we are small we want to be big and when we are big we want to be bigger, the smart or delusional ones learn that it would be better to be smaller taken car eof because one cannot take care of all the big self they think they have to be or defend, even if this means you think that by being smaller there is less of you that can be taken. The smartest ones realise there size and know it. Even knowing ones place need not be a bad thing, means you can rest and be contented, but as long as we think we have been put there instead of battling (being the hero) to get where we are, we will always be a made fool not created hero. Our life is myth and if not myth then tragedy.
Where does equality come in?
We are all the same size.
I suppose Marx was at least trying in some small way to extol this virtue. But who towards?
Shame about the 'ist'.
 
sometime sun
 
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 02:33 am
@sometime sun,
Exist is one inflextion away from exit.
 
mister kitten
 
Reply Sun 21 Feb, 2010 04:33 pm
@sometime sun,
sometime sun;130520 wrote:

Would you rather dub your self knight or be crowned a fool?
We think we can gift ourselve more of the self same self so when we are taken from there will still be something left over.
Natural you might say but delusional also.
Why when we are small we want to be big and when we are big we want to be bigger, the smart or delusional ones learn that it would be better to be smaller taken car eof because one cannot take care of all the big self they think they have to be or defend, even if this means you think that by being smaller there is less of you that can be taken. The smartest ones realise there size and know it. Even knowing ones place need not be a bad thing, means you can rest and be contented, but as long as we think we have been put there instead of battling (being the hero) to get where we are, we will always be a made fool not created hero. Our life is myth and if not myth then tragedy.


Being the slave=being the king? How very Marcus Aurelius of you, sometime
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 22 Feb, 2010 02:10 am
@mister kitten,
mister kitten;130819 wrote:
Being the slave=being the king? How very Marcus Aurelius of you, sometime


The first shall be last, and the last shall be first. Whoever wants to be king among you should get ready to shine some shoes.....
Interesting theme, even if it doesn't reel me in --or only as all paradoxes do, as paradox is sexy.

On another note:

Marcus is something.
 
HexHammer
 
Reply Mon 15 Mar, 2010 12:24 pm
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;125193 wrote:
Religion is the opiate of the masses. Marxism is the opiate of the intellectuals.

Marx wrote of commodity fetishism. But Marx himself serves as a fetish for others. But Marx is not so hot these days. There are better examples.

I can imagine earnest college kids clinging to their copies of Joyce's Ulysses as their parents might have once clung to their Bibles. The reverence/idolatry hasn't changed but only the fashion.

Of course this is not aimed at everyone. I'm suggesting that we all undergo a sort of intellectual/cultural evolution in which we learn to think for ourselves. Can we skip the idolatry phase? I doubt it. But this is an opinion, not a proposition.

Young men must have mustangs or mohawks or marx, drugs dreads or derridas. We are the same old Bible-thumbing rabbit-foot carrying species. Or not. I report. You decide.
Your claim may hold tru in old books and such, but in that world which I reside, capitalism is the new fad/fetishism.

Least in Denmark we consider religious people kukus, not very bright, nor very sane. Commies are a minority, socialism has replaced it, I think DDR regime scared most off the commie-think.
 
 

 
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