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(en) France, Union Communiste Libertaire AL #297 - Essay: Contemporary Symptoms of Spectacular Capitalism (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Thu, 3 Oct 2019 10:15:23 +0300

No offense to some people, having a Marxian analysis of society is not limited to boring economic speech. Capitalism and merchandise have penetrated all spheres of social life, monetizing all (or almost) to make goods. ---- Literature, cinema, television, social networks have become hunting grounds for unscrupulous cultural capitalists. It is therefore not surprising that many successful cultural products are ready-to-think and reflect the alienation associated with the commodification of the whole of social life. ---- This is shown by Benoit-Bohy Bunel, critical theorist and militant communist libertarian. Often, the philosophy is not very accessible. Here the author tries to break the cliché of the philosopher in his ivory tower. It is from the analysis of successful authors that his criticism of spectacular capitalism will begin. No domain is spared. In the first place, it shows the intellectual void of authors such as Marc Lévy who portrays bourgeois who only symbolize the face of capitalist domination.

He is then interested in cinema. For example, he explains in a subtle way that films such as Inception , which may seem interesting at first sight, are only the staging of the commodification of the depths of the unconscious. If he misses the film Fight Club , which he does not analyze all aspects, it is catching up in the pages devoted to Michel Houellebecq. This author, though acclaimed by critics, is only the apostle of the emptiness of European capitalism: he delivers the moral pangs of a reactionary European man, who feels threatened by women and foreigners ...

He then describes the mechanisms of television advertising and the profound alienation of the logic of social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. In the line of Guy Debord and Situationism, he tries to show that the entire cultural industry is a machine to generate consent and alienation at all levels of existence. From these elements, and in particular from a criticism of Leonardo Di Caprio, he also shows that this show is an opportunity to stage a green capitalism: display good intentions, cut the water by brushing teeth and sorting its waste then becomes the unsurpassable horizon of good environmental consciousness as multinationals and states happily ravage the planet.

All in all, it is an interesting book, which can be read in small keys, each part being relatively autonomous. The only small limit in our opinion, it is a pity that he speaks little about the resistance to this capitalist cultural industry, which nevertheless exist ...
Matt (UCL Montpellier)

Benoit Bohy-Bunel, contemporary symptoms of spectacular capitalism , Harmattan, 2019, 208 pages, 21 euros

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