Funny story: My daughter is taking a class on Marxism and she informed me that she thinks I’ve been a Marxist the whole time of her growing up as she recalls the critical stuff I’ve had to say about the Society of the Spectacle and the whole idea of human automatons and the commoditization of life in the face of the modern, mechanized society.
If you were around in the 70s, recall the heyday of disco. Long before it became kitschy and nostalgic. Back then people were taking that shit seriously and my very senses were assaulted not only by the music, but the assault was 10X more intense when I’d see people wearing funny outfits dancing like stupid, unthinking robots. I mean, I guess part of it was about getting laid, but it was an affront to my senses that I could not bear. It was terrifying to me quite frankly. Quick, get me some fucking Black Sabbath or if need be, Sex Pistols or Ramones right away!
Today I was listening to Stereolab and decided to think about the lyrics to K-Stars, a song with a droning outro that has always grabbed me. Turns out I am pretty damn sure the song is about the Situationist International, which I discovered back in the 80s at an art exhibit an old girlfriend took me to (she was of course, an artist) that pretty much blew me away. After seeing it I knew I was not the only one alienated from the Society of the Spectacle. But a Marxist? I dunno, kid. I am a financial capitalist, after all and before that was a business owner (of the means of production, ha ha ha).
But the SI were all over the humans as commodities thing that modern capitalism has wrought. Mass media and commodity fetishism… yup, you’ve seen that stuff bleed through here, eh? That along with reading Eric Fromm and his frequent references to human automatons for whom conformity to society’s norms was paramount. All of that stuff was like reading an enthralling horror novel, but believing in these realities instead of taking the easy way out (err, the blue pill if you will) has always kept me sane and even comfortable amid the hype of the day (e.g. your favorite fear or greed mongering charlatans in the financial world). So you want to know why Notes From the Rabbit Hole is focused on psychology (e.g. personal emotions) and sociology (e.g. herding) among other things? This is why.
The lyrics that sealed my view that this song is about the SI are “worked hard on their laziness” and “wandering through Paris”. Guy Debord was fascinated with the not so apparent areas and aspects of cities as well as the whole damn society as a spectacle with human commodities.
They were young
In their mid-twenties
Some in their teens
They were intelligent
And some believed
They were passionate
Wildly in love
Well they were exuberant
Capable of hate
They were drawn
Towards the exceptional
They avoided work
But worked hard on their laziness
It seems they walked
Wandering through Paris
Was a genuine art
The singer is French. That was another clue about the SI, who were also. At least Guy Debord and his circle were French.
Ah, what a digression. Here’s the song.