In the social Disneyland of so-called “developed” countries, pleasure is always my pleasure. It is the completion of triumphant individualism. Look at me, tell me about me, flatter me, it’s only me that interests me.
The period of the 1960s and in particular 1968 hit all values hard. With the contestation of the political legitimacy of the bourgeoisie and of capitalism, also appears the contestation of the disciplinary morality that had been that of the previous century. The hippie generation will reconnect with shamanic cultures and popularize the use of drugs. At the same time, awareness of the damage caused to the environment by techno-science is becoming evident. Ecology was born in this period and it offers a better understanding of the relevance of the balance of traditional lifestyles.
The idealistic and revolutionary fervor of the 1960s will experience its twilight, turn around and change into the conformism of the 1990s. From now on, we no longer want to change the world. We want to take advantage of it. We want to take advantage of everything that society brings, swoon over advertising, consume its products, take advantage of all its advantages, everything that marketing knows how to sell us so well. To the counter-culture of the 60s, the 90s oppose a disillusioned “blah.” What's interesting is being cool and doing well (it's true that the portrait of Che Guevara on the T-shirt is beautiful), but from there to commit! As long as we are having fun, the rest is okay. To commit? Why? What's the point? It's no use. We want life to be like in video clips, with pretty girls and guys dancing all the time and everywhere, with music in perpetual gaiety: “things have to move.” Life is movement.
As for the rest, all this talk about the project, the seriousness, the commitment, is boring! Something old! The leisure and consumer industry has created a world of entertainment. So why do you want to reject the ad? In the world of consumption, let’s have no complexes! We Kurt Cobain, the singer of Nirvana, hated books. He had a blast with the music. No future. Bob Marley was having a blast with weed. We also want to have a blast. We love advertising and brands. Just for the show. We love to display logos. We love to shop for fashion.
To have fun (to explode, to disappear, to be pulverized), to diversify (to get out of oneself, to flee: the complete opposite of to invest in), to frantically seek the ecstasy of pleasure, (the orgasm is the highest and the only value), get high (the trivialized use of the vocabulary of drugs: even supermarkets speak of consumer high!) and the name Nirvana borrowed from Buddhism, taken up in its negativity (extinction to join as soon as possible nothingness?). There is a characteristic representation of mentality of our time and whose content is very different from that of the previous generation. We want everything and now. When the profusion of pleasures is before our eyes, when the world becomes an amusement park and the only rule that is imposed is the diktat of immediate desire, there is no more to think about. Just follow the suggestions, the remote control in hand in life, as in front of the television.
In an era that maintains the cult of adolescence, in order to exist, you have to be able to call yourself “young.” In the social Disneyland of so-called “developed” countries, pleasure is always my pleasure. It is the completion of triumphant individualism. Look at me, tell me about me, flatter me, it’s only me that interests me. Hence the sovereign empire of appearance, the undivided reign of image, the exhibitionism, becomes norms.
This does not shock anyone. Times are changing. In any case, the universal aims have withdrawn. If one joins a group, it is only with the desire to meet “with beings sharing the same immediate and circumscribed concerns.” Collective narcissism: we come together because we are similar, which means sensitized to the same pleasures, the same individual desires. That's all.
“Expressing yourself” means showing off in your difference for the sake of difference, even if you have nothing to say and especially if you have nothing to say. Everyone is encouraged to call the radio switchboard, everyone wants to say something from their intimate experience, and everyone can become a speaker and be heard. But it is the same here as with the graffiti on the walls of the school or in the countless artistic groups: “the more it expresses, the more there is nothing to say". The irony is that nobody really is interested in this profusion of expression, with one significant exception, admittedly: the sender or the creator himself. The important thing is to be on TV! To talk on the radio! To be able to show the video recording in which “I am seen!”
Even when you're in the audience, you tell everyone. “Did you see me right behind the host?” Supreme flattery of self-love, “me” on TV! Only the sender of the message is interested in the phrase and interested only in himself. Television is the unreal and fantasized representation of Life. The viewer spends his life watching the lives of others and quite naturally life becomes for him a representation, that of celebrity. So, of course, the ego’s supreme temptation is to go to the other side of the screen, to begin to exist because it has been seen on TV! When I myself am a picture that everyone can see, as flat as a picture, empty.
The system works very well and most importantly, it allows you to sell anything and everything. Man does not know what he uses for, but he uses a lot. Rather, he consumes anything and anyhow, and especially to show off. He made the mall a “place of life,” the place of Sunday walks, as his ancestors went to the countryside to walk along the river; he goes shopping with his family at the mall.
Men love luxury stores and high end stores. They endlessly consume services and especially leisure activities: attractions, restaurants, vacations, sports. Leisure is his last ideal, his true God for whom he will spend lavishly. He also often spends in a purely compulsive way, by effect of compensation. In which case, he never goes for what is useful and cheap, no, he goes for what is fashionable. Because it's fashionable, because it allows you to show off and impose yourself in front of others. On shoes what matters is a brand logo. For the t-shirt, the quality is not important, what matters is the crocodile (although with my crocodile I'm certainly from the older generation).
The mark of a brand, under these conditions, a man is extremely easily influenced. He's an easy pigeon to catch, so easy to handle! If only by giving him a new-three-times-free credit, he will crack. Advertising is there to make him crack. And best of all, he doesn't have any critical distance, plus he loves advertising! In fact, he often has nothing in his head other than commercials. In a society with a solid moral framework, one would have pity, and one would not abuse gullibility, weakness and naivety. But who tells you that this society is moral? It's the contrary.
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