THE FIRST THING TO KNOW

Guy Debord Society of the Spectacle critical theory work 1967

“The oldest social specialization, the specialization of power, is at the root of the spectacle. The spectacle is thus a specialized activity which speaks for all the others. It is the diplomatic representation of hierarchic society to itself, where all other expression is banned. Here the most modern is also the most archaic.”

 -Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle (1967)

I began writing this blog in order to share my thoughts on the art that moves me.  While younger-me would say “But you’ve grown soft in your old age, man!! Being angry at an artist you used to trust IS being moved!”  …and he wouldn’t have been wrong.  It’s just that these days I do not feel any need to try to argue anyone away from liking what they like.

There is, however, a political side to all of this which I feel no need to push currently.  I will leave it at this: you will not find posts about Miley Cyrus, Tyler Perry’s (whatever), or just about any reality TV program.  By and large, products that are part of the “entertainment industry” are exactly that: products.  Moreover, they are diplomatic representations of  hierarchic society, purporting to be simple, easily digestible ways for people to spend some time (although the “culture industry”, the rapidly increasing price-tags on contemporary artworks, and the increasing enrollment at art schools are proving just as much that institutional art is a part of the  spectacle as well, but I’ll leave that to others to discuss).

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