Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Happily begin by knowing nothing

Our maps may be used as transparencies to be superimposed on the things we see. This is helpful anytime we are in a situation that we don't know a lot about. For instance, I don't know anything significant about reality television. I rarely see television -- except as it has recently been configured to Netflix through the Wii. Now I see more television, but I don't know anything special about it, nor am I particularly invested in it one way or the other. If you have a strong opinion about it, that's great. I am only regarding it to the extent that I am engaged with it at present -- with a developed understanding of my own commitments, and without any particular technical understanding of, say, reality television in general.

Anyway, right now Netflix lets you watch Season 2 of the Jersey Shore instantly. So that's what I'm considering. As stated earlier, my main concern in general is people trying to tell other people what to do without any good reason for it -- whatever name you want to call that. I credit anarchism in my case, for better or worse, because this is what I take from it on a practical level. Nevertheless, this remains the operative concept which informs my overarching map -- Marxism's narrower focus, on the other hand, is how the capitalist mode of production "tells people what to do" without asking anybody's preference on many important subjects; the Marxist map is concerned with one example of "people trying to tell others what to do" insofar as propertied classes have more power than the dispossessed under capitalism.

When it comes to some people trying to tell others what to do, there are three categories I am concerned with in the case of something like the Jersey Shore:

1) The relationships between cast members and other individuals appearing on the show

2) The relationship between 1) and the production crew

3) The relationship between myself and others as an audience and the Jersey Shore as a commercial product we "consume"

These are the places I am primarily interested in looking at. With a little luck I hope to get started soon!


Anonymous said...

The influence of zunguzungu is showing. It does not bode well for your blog or what you have to say

Jersey Shore is not a metaphor. Jersey Shore makes money for Viacom

Tom Bombadil

JRB said...

Tom Bombadil:

In fact, it's much more incriminating than this: the influence of my life, as it is experienced!

Peter Ward said...

I understood anarchism be concerned with people having power over other people by virtue of a given institutional role; not telling someone what to do in any context--since in many cases the one being told to do such and such can simply choose not to do it?

Ethan said...

I'm not sure why things that make money for Viacom can't also be metaphors. Also, it really looks like the approach here is concerned with the making-money-for-Viacom aspect, or at least that would seem to be a part of #3.

JRB said...

Peter Ward:

Because people trying to tell others what to do will always be the starting point for any kind of formalized power-over relation, I just think that's what you always want to look out for -- in any context.

In other words, there's no reason to let something develop or persist as an institution (or some form aspiring to it) if we can help it.