Thursday, June 21, 2012

Live From Twitter! Alienation, Social Networking, and A Crazy Most Eligible Dallas Fan

As if the complex and interwoven connection (or disconnection) of the internet isn't strange enough, we can find comfort in the fact that it simply reflects the peculiar nature of we humans. If we add the obsessive nature in which we connect ourselves to celebrities and athletes, we are only left to ask what exactly it is that we are covering over in our postmodern age. 

Maybe the unrealistic IPO of Facebook represented our need to connect, to be part of the community of mankind, and attempt to realize the fulness of life that is only available in a fully developed society. In Eclipse of Reason (1942), Max Horkheimer states:
The fully developed individual is the consummation of a fully developed society. The emancipation of the individual is not an emancipation from society, but the deliverance of atomization, an atomization that may reach its peak in periods of collectivization and mass culture.
 Atomization refers to the separation of individuals as part of the collective of individuals into separate atoms - as we have referred to in an earlier post Capitalism's Inner Logic of Self Destruction. Following the separation of individuals into human cogs in the division of labor, we moved into suburbs surrounded by people that looked like us but separated by white picket fences. We now live in communities but not in community. Facebook and Twitter are simply post-modern manifestations of an attempt to reconnect our common humanity. 

However, our efforts have been thwarted by the culture industry which has successful commodified out attempt to reconnect by collecting our information for sales data and further inundated us with entertainment that effectively renders us incompetent to act as part of the political community. The Bachelor, Jersey Shore, Nickleback, the cinema, and useless reality show such as Most Eligible Dallas, not only distract us from the futility of driving the direction of our own lives, but also simulate relationship through social media and gives us a false sense of connection to each other and a false obsession from the mediated reality we consume through the celebrities (or pseudo celebrities) that reflect a world that we come to desire. Guy Debord may have said it better in Society of the Spectacle (1967):
In societies where modern conditions of production prevail, all life presents itself as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was directly lived has moved away into a representation… the spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people mediated by images.
This brings us to our main point, the alienation that we experience in our postmodern condition lead us to obsess over celebrities that we identify as reflecting who we are or lead us to dream of a life that we wish we had. From Bieber Fever to fantasy football we are inundated with false consciousness as we subconsciously attempt to make meaning out of our fragmented lives.

We have been led to contemplate this from a recent reaction to our earlier post about Most Eligible Dallas
A virtual individual, Nancy Gold, who only follows Barack Obama (I hate to write a satirical piece about someone who recognizes the politcal genius of our current president) and is followed by one person. With no picture and no information from which to deduct any personality assessments (yes we did attempt a google search to no avail), this woman, or girl, has dedicated her whole Twitter life to an obsession over Courtney Kerr. 

We wish that this was unusual but it seems that pseudo celebrity obsession is an adequate coping mechanism for the futility that we experience as one-dimenionalized human beings. 

Obsessed With WhatUpWally?,


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