Thursday, April 07, 2011

Snooki and me

If you go into an experience like watching the Jersey Shore having already mapped out your social commitments, then I think you can't help but approach the people involved in a sympathetic way. This necessarily includes not only the cast and whoever else works on the show, but also the audiences who watch it -- including yourself and whoever else you might watch it with.

For me, the fundamental social concern always comes back to instances where someone is trying to tell someone else what to do. Historically speaking, this is supremely dangerous; and so anarchism has evolved as a politics which places the burden of proof on whomever makes such claims. Sometimes this burden can be met, but since legitimation can only come from whomever is primarily affected, justification must be demonstrated to them. If the burden can't be met, the claim is illegitimate by assumption -- to be ignored, resisted or overcome as need be.

My starting point for the Jersey Shore is Season 2, which for whatever reason is set in Miami. This along with many other details isn't important; for now I'm only interested in what's in front of me.

First and foremost are the people in my life and the circumstances they are in. As one of my closest relations said to me, when she comes home from work the Jersey Shore is just the caliber of programming she wants to see. She is saying something about herself, something about the show, but perhaps most significantly something about her job. If you've ever had a job, you know that it can include large doses of other people trying to tell you what to do. This is important, especially in light of how it impacts the rest of our lives.

Secondly, there is the cast of the Jersey Shore, who like the rest of us would rather do anything more interesting for a living than simply take orders from somebody else. And yet, as we will see, our friends don't exactly escape this fate, even if their work is "more interesting" than what they might have encountered otherwise. It nevertheless carries its own costs. Our Marxist map is helpful for understanding how economic forces push us toward certain options -- like the single-minded pursuit of fame -- when in general we feel like we don't have many. So I want to signal my sympathy toward the cast from the very beginning, for these reasons.

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