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Old 07-13-2010, 04:39 PM   #1
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Is consumerism fascism?

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‘I remember four or five years ago going into the Bentall Centre, a huge shopping mall in Kingston, a town I hate. It was before Christmas, and there were these three gigantic bears on a plinth in the centre of this huge atrium … automatons, moving to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. The place was packed; crowds looking up at them. And I thought, God, these people have left their brains somewhere. What’s going on here? And then I noticed that my head was moving, too. I thought, Jesus, get out fast.’

Ballard in interview, 2006.[7]

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If there is no principle restricting who can consume what, there is also no principled constraint on what can be consumed: all social relations, activities and objects can in principle be exchanged as commodities. This is one of the most profound secularizations enacted by the modern world … [and] places the intimate world of the everyday into the impersonal world of the market and its values. Moreover, while consumer culture appears universal because it is depicted as a land of freedom in which everyone can be a consumer, it is also felt to be universal because everyone must be a consumer: this particular freedom is compulsory.

Don Slater, ‘Consumer Culture & Modernity’.[10]

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Consumerism rules, but people are bored. They’re out on the edge, waiting for something big and strange to come along. … They want to be frightened. They want to know fear. And maybe they want to go a little mad.

Ballard, Kingdom Come.[11]

Ballardian � A Fascist State? Another Look at Kingdom Come and Consumerism
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:16 AM   #2
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Fascism - Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary
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Old 07-14-2010, 12:29 AM   #3
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The emergence of a corporate state might be an aspect of consumerism that links to fascism.
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Old 07-14-2010, 04:09 PM   #4
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If I see snobby trend people laughing at someone, bullying or ignoring someone who dresses differently, then, yes!
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Old 07-19-2010, 11:26 AM   #5
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If there is no principle restricting who can consume what, there is also no principled constraint on what can be consumed: all social relations, activities and objects can in principle be exchanged as commodities. This is one of the most profound secularizations enacted by the modern world … [and] places the intimate world of the everyday into the impersonal world of the market and its values. Moreover, while consumer culture appears universal because it is depicted as a land of freedom in which everyone can be a consumer, it is also felt to be universal because everyone must be a consumer: this particular freedom is compulsory.
As if the antiquarian/medieval, class-defined "sumptuary laws" were an improvement. All they did was place a hard limit on consumption for middle and lower class individuals solely on the basis of their ignoble parentage, regardless of their actual income (an issue that arose with the rise of the merchant class). The nobility, of course, was free to consume unabated, which is why we have historical examples of national treasuries being pillaged to build opulent palaces that served no other purpose except personal vanity. If that's not "consumerism" as "fascism," then I'm not sure what else is.

Modern "consumerism," at its core, is democracy. It may be crude and devoid of "higher" value, but the same principles that permit the tacky also allow for high art; it is value agnostic. What Slater et al. instead should aim for are consumers educated to have more discerning tastes. Then maybe things like internet scams and "Jersey Shore" might never have existed in the first place. We can only speculate, but anything else would be paternalistic and "fascist," not the other way around.
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