Thursday, 7 June 2012

Comments on the Society of the Spectacle

"A financier can be a singer, a lawyer a police spy, a baker can parade his literary tastes, an actor can be president, a chef can philosophise on cookery techniques as if they were landmarks in universal history. Anyone can join the spectacle, in order publicly to adopt, or sometimes secretly practise, an entirely different activity from whatever specialism first made their name. Where 'media status' has acquired infinitely more importance than the value of anything one might actually be capable of doing, it is normal for this status to be readily transferable; for anyone, anywhere, to have the same right to the same kind of stardom. Most often these accelerated media particles pursue their own careers in the glow of statutorily guaranteed admiration. But it sometimes happens that the transition to the media provides the cover for several different enterprises, officially independent but in fact secretly linked by various ad hoc networks. With the result that occasionally the social division of labour, along with the readily forseeable unity of its application, reappears in quite new forms: for example, one can now publish a novel in order to arrange an assassination. Such picturesque examples also go to show that one should never trust someone because of their job" — Guy Debord, Comments on the Society of the Spectacle, 1988

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