Slavov Zizek on ideology and Starbucks (via biblioklept.org)
But what is ideology?
Ideology is the process by which
cultures are structured in ways that enable the group holding power to have the maximum control with the minimum of conflict. This is not a matter of groups deliberately planning to oppress people or alter their consciousness (although this can happen), but rather a matter of how the dominant institutions in society work through values, conceptions of the world, and symbol systems, in order to legitimize the current order. […]through the widespread teaching (the social adoption) of ideas about the way things are, how the world ‘really' works and should work. These ideas [often “hidden” in the culture of daily life as in the Starbucks example above”] orient people’s thinking in such a way that they accept the current way of doing things, the current sense of what is ‘natural,’ and the current understanding of their roles in society.
—John Lye, Ideology - A brief guide
This socialization process often occurs informally, but often also manifests itself under the name of “education”.
A good example of this occurs in Aldous Huxley’s novel, Brave New World, in which humans are bred into distinct social classes or castes, and are taught never to question the “natural” “reality” of the world as they find it —as, rather, it is constructed for them:
This striking image, of moving through our unexamined social norms as a fish moves through water, of feeling most “at home” in our environment when we least question anything about it, is where ideology is most potent, and ideology, then is what we teachers are [supposedly] asking students asking to critique when we go on and on about “critical thinking”.
Truth is, if you really think do critically, you will find that it puts you at odds with those fish who like the water they swim in, and who find that thinking is precisely the last thing you want to be doing if you want to “fit in” or merely want a hassle-free, comfortable, unquestioning future, a la Cipher in The Matrix (1999)
By contrast, consider this passage from Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, in which the author juxtaposes kitsch (false, self-deluding sentimentality in art, politics and culture generally) and critique:
The question is thus a knife that cuts beneath the surface, beneath the apparent naturalness of our beliefs to expose the artificial, the ideological, the staged nature of the “backdrop” of our consensual reality…
Good little girls always show marked deference for the aged. You ought never to ‘sass’ old people unless they ‘sass’ you first.
Happy birthday, Mark Twain! Celebrate with his irreverent illustrated advice to little girls, penned when he was only 30, mischievously encouraging girls to think independently rather than blindly obey rules and social mores.
Don’t be sassy now!
Be hip, hepcats!
[Or, as Jazzcat “The Golden Smog” Fred Flintstone learns while avoiding his marital responsibilities in Rockland: ”Skooddily-o-wah Wah-wah-wah”]
and then swing with this, daddy-o!! — (fast forward to 15:40)
Taking a look at the Roman gods and their relationship to the days of the week as well the planets in our solar system. If you’re interested in more astronomical content, check out the other space-related posts that we’ve shared throughout November.
“We’re always connected, in theory, to people via the Internet in our homes. And yet, we’re growing more isolated and disconnected.”
Not sure about “the social media that fulfill them” part…
—help, in their own small way, to fulfill, rather???
There are some good ones in there. Are you up to the challenge? How many have you read?
Happy 100th birthday, Albert Camus! Complement this lovely poster of his best-known tenets by illustrator Marcela Restrepo with the story of Camus’s unlikely and heartening WWII friendship with pioneering biologist Jacques Monod and Camus on happiness, unhappiness, and our self-imposed prisons.
Back in 2006, a group of students at Xavier High School in New York City (one of whom, “JT,” submitted this letter) were given an assignment by their English teacher, Ms. Lockwood, that was to test their persuasive writing skills: they were asked to write to their favourite author and ask him or her to visit the school. Five of those pupils chose Kurt Vonnegut. His thoughtful reply, seen below, was the only response the class received.
”..linger on, your pale blue eyes..”
The first time she went to Tomas’s flat, her insides began to rumble. And no wonder: she had nothing to eat since breakfast but a quick sandwich on the platform before boarding the train. She had concentrated on the daring journey ahead of her and forgotten about food. But when we ignore the body, we are more easily victimized by it. She felt terrible standing there in front of Tomas listening to her belly speak out. She felt like crying. Fortunately, after the first ten seconds Tomas put his arms around her and made her forget her ventral noises.
TEREZA was therefore born of the irreconcilable duality of body and soul, that fundamental human experience.
—Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being (2.1-2.2)
More Charlie Brown meets Morrisey can be found at http://thischarmingcharlie.tumblr.com/
Pair this with the Nietzsche Family Circus!