The magazines have finally caught up to reality. Yeah. That's progress. In a world caught up by global climate change (possible alternative wording: Just as the world is about to be destroyed by global climate change), which we'd be better off calling “climate response” (the response of the climate to humanity's failure to think, or “be” (be sentient) the magazine industry has finally figured out how to create great magazines. So that's progress. I found a few at a newstand in Chicago, and I'd like to discuss one article in particular. Oprah's town, ya know?
We find a magazine from L. A. Very accurate description of a North American Cuidad Español by which I simply mean a Spanish city not a city located in the U. S. A. Spanish. Probably Mexico; I'm not sure.
The author has observations of noise in Spanish culture (ruido). Anyway he is in a city, and there are some loud vendors selling music. They are outside his apartment. He observes that this is a culture where persons find comfort, security, and, safety in Um -- noise. Weird. Difficult to explain. Comfort in noise doesn't seem so good to me either. Author does not know what to do about the noise. He considers his options. First, to go see his local genteel enlightened ombudsman sort, a guy put there by the kind government (probably Mexico, I don't know). But he being a smart L.A. author-type the author can see far enough ahead to where that's going to lead; doesn't want to try. But at same time cannot find another tack. What to do? Ask neighbor (an architect). Next? Perhaps the landlord. This is the part I like. The landlord repeats what the street vendors say. Here it is: “If you ask them why they cannot turn it down they tell you if they do not play the music loud they won’t sell anything.” That's good. I really like that.
Perfect explanatory routine. Notice how good that is. You shouldn't go past the explanation. It is some kind of weird street poetry, or economic theory, I mean it. It also corresponds to an impression that I have in my life formed, that in the commercial-yet-working classes, in this world of the regular folks, or this world of those stuck in the sticky capitalis-stick situation, they have absorbed the mainstream culture and as well its theories: these persons are totally attuned to the ideology. They have absorbed society's natural need for explanation. And not only that, they've absorbed it, and trained in it's explanatory regimen (the ideology) just as well as anybody. Including - natch - economists. The academics in their halls of scholarly pretense try too, I will hand them that. They try too. And they are liars. And I think the street people are good liars, too. I think that is what to call it, I don't think it's the wrong word. If what you say becomes a lie, or functions as one, you are a liar or you are functioning as a liar, just as the words coming out of the mouth of the music street vendors are functionally bullshit: "we have to play it loud or we won't sell anything." What do you call that?
I don’t know what the word for it is, but “liar” is close, ain't it? It will have to do if you get my drift. The ordinary individuals situated in a commercial, capitalistic social position regurgitate the mainstream version of stuff. They should be given full credit --- they do philosophy of commerce in a fashion that is actually very good and, I'll opine, rather better than do those who do try so hard at it in the hallowed halls of genteel learning.
They have a clear and present idea of exactly the same basic set of values --- just the values they are supposed to believe in. The writers and intellectuals try hard to articulate this cultural ideology. I am just saying that these street vendors get it too.
The average man gets it. This is what I call "ideology." I think there is an intellectual "explanation" kind of floating around in space. It is ambiguous and hybrid---an actual theory and also, in inseparable fashion, a real, materially present social system. (After all, "social" includes ideology, literature, myths.) The social system has a requisite ideology. It is a matter of culture. So, you have to talk about ideology and reality as being connected. Once conditions the other. One is obviously material. And the other is half-material. I think so, but I find it difficult enough to reason through this kind of thing, and I have not done the work.
But what the street vendor said isn't exactly true, even if it does function culturally and socially. This kind of thinking, lies, ideas, or ideology functions in our society but it may also eventually destroy our society. What the ordinary level persons in the capitalist/urban world have perfectly absorbed is the explanation, or society’s message to them; although it may be a necessary ideological trope at this time in history, it is not the truth. (Actually you could also say, "superstructural ideology.")
What I am saying is that the ideology is a prerequisite to "being" in the capitalistic realm. Naturally, that includes, preeminently, the making-of-money part. And in addition to being an ideology there is the material thing which is that this is a real system and this is real life, not a fantasy. It is the life of a capitalist society and coming up with shit like that is part of the way these fellows make their living---and live. The ideology is made up but you get real jobs in that system (as long as it lasts, because I don't think that "system" can be assumed; it should be interrogated, and it is in deep trouble, meaning we are if you get my drift).
So, the "people" --- the "dummies" who accept the ideology impressed upon them --- reflect back this necessary ideology that is kind of naturally floating around anyway. They could write Milton Friedman's books as well as Milton Friedman could. They couldn't do the math, that's all. This is how the human mind works. And, I might venture further that as the society itself gets less and less stable, and more threatened, theories like "we have to play the music loud otherwise it won't sell" and not harmed. They are unscathed. I would say that ideology is very strong, and not a mere superstructure at all but somehow very basic and important, very human and cultural.
Considering these things causes me to have more respect of "primitive" beliefs. But primitive beliefs usually succumb to modern science, whereas, as capitalism blunders on, it never harms the (ideology industry or the) manufacturing of the statements such as: "we have to play the music loud or we cannot sell anything" at all. This kind of b.s. thinking is clear to just the average mainstream citizen. It’s a trope, a wrong ideology built in like a cumbia beat on a hot Mexican night.
“We have to play the music loud or we can’t sell anything.” I didn't just jump past it. I recognized it as a trope as soon as I read that part. I stopped reading the article there. You have to absorb this kind of stuff. It's music. The music of "free market explanation" has been playing for decades, for over a century. The explanation of the music seller was "good."
For exactly what, I don't know. In a society without values it exemplifies that society's lack of values. Milton Friedman is not the better guy. Anybody can sell this crap. Other variations exist...
“We have to destroy the earth otherwise we cannot sell things.” (I just looked at Bill McKibben on his Tar Sands protest in D.C. today, August 30.)
“We have to kill a few civilians in order to win this war, even though we love peace dearly you see, but we are going to be careful and not have any more lethal accidents than we need to, not kill any more than the amount that we accidentally need to, which is in order to bring democracy to Iraq, since they do not know enough about democracy, being only the cradle of civilization.”
“You have to pay if you want to play.”
"The suffering of humanity is a necessary price to pay for happiness of humanity ---- (and now the trumpet fanfare): as exemplified by the glorious capitalist system—which, they will tell you, is not social. No, it's “individual.”