Saturday, November 23, 2019

Random notes and impulse control from January 31, 2012.

Sometimes I come across random notes that I've jotted down in the past. They feel like ransom notes from my past self that have been sent circuitously to my present self. The main difference between a "random note" and a "ransom note" seems to be the degree to which a person makes recourse to an X-Acto blade.
So here is something titled "Impulse Control" that I apparently wrote on January 31, 2012:

Impulse Control

For some time now it has become increasingly clear that we live in a society with little impulse control. In fact, those with the least amount of impulse control are lauded as the centurions of the new economy. They slice a swath through the open-mouthed barbarian hordes of idle and apathetic consumers, and are rewarded with all the spoils of war—splitting the difference between "disruption" and "destruction". They fondle themselves in the rumpus rooms of elaborate corporate “campuses” erected in honor of the creative economy. They eat the sugared cereal of their youth all day long and wear pajamas and ironic slippers and brainstorm about new apps and multitask on cutting edge tech. Multiple windows open, they post on FaceBook, update their tweetfeed on Twitter, and Google clips for shits and giggles on YouTube.

So much hysterical giddiness in the workplace seems unbecoming somehow. But don’t worry. The situation isn’t as erratic as it seems. Pleasure Island from Pinnochio  has been recreated in the workplace because there is money to be made through such ritualized playtime. The brainstorming, being encouraged to act out your CHILDHOOD in all caps, without shame, is the way corporations create the petri dish to formulate—in laboratory conditions—their ideal consumer. Lost in nostalgia for Star Wars and Foosball and low-resolution Atari games, creators and consumers circle-jerk each other like happy drones, and ultimately help define each other.

The word “Synergy” is no longer enunciated with hushed reverence in press releases and extravaganza product release events. It is a fait accompli, the systems have been streamlined, the consumers have been surgically separated from their jobs, and now can spend all their time just mindlessly consuming. "Consumption" is still a "wasting disease". While the centurion and their twin (the mindless consumer) of the new economy are engaged in the exact same activities, one set gets paid to play and indulge in fugues of comic book fantasy, while the other pays for the privilege. This is the essential difference. Nothing is created other than the conditions for an infectious and ecstatic petulance. Faith is expressed through debt.

The internet “post” is perhaps the modern manifestation of the bumper sticker. The bumper sticker, particularly in its East Bay manifestation starting from the Seventies, was narrowcasting. The new tech allows for broadcasting FaceBook to those you know and Twitter to both strangers who share your views and strangers who hate your guts.

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