About

I write about technology, psychoanalysis, philosophy, design, ideology & Slavoj Žižek.

Appreciation

May 26, 2011

Unfreedom in wants

In this comic, the artist objects to the cancellation of Stargate Universe by suggesting that the method that networks use to measure the popularity of TV shows is flawed because it relies on sampling rather than direct measurement. The implication is that this is old-fashioned, not an internet-age methodology where all views can be tracked and recorded.

What’s stunning is that here, monitoring of individuals by corporations is reframed as the individual’s right to be counted, almost as if registering one’s consumer habits is a form of voting. This is how consumerism is toxic to politics, because the aim of life is conceived as getting whatever you want, provided you are willing to pay. In this view, the problem with politics is that we express our desires at the ballot box and then often don’t get what we asked for because other people ruin it for us by making different choices. The solution is to convert political choices into consumer choices, where everyone can get what they really want (provided they can pay.)

Beginning in the 60s, the public accepted the idea that voting is a mode of individual self-expression, but it quickly became clear that its a much more frustrating way of doing that. So we took choices out of the ballot and put them into the shopping catalog.

Colloqium

Related Posts

January 6, 2014

The Agile Labor Union

In 2001, seventeen American, British and Canadian software engineers and IT managers met at a ski resort in Snowbird, Utah, to start a movement to remake the way software is built. Over the previous decade, the attendees had independently created similar processes for organizing and managing software engineering projects that broke

Read more →
February 13, 2014

Left Activism Goes Corporate: A Detour Through the Raw Food Underground

One of the most tedious features of the Silicon Valley Hype Machine is its endless repetition of progressive sounding marketing slogans about democracy and freedom, all while promoting a pro-business agenda. But it's too easy to read this as a sinister corporate ploy to co-opt the language of activists and twisting

Read more →
March 18, 2013

To Critique Everything, Click Here

I have a few weeks where I am slightly less busy than usual, and I have chosen to spend some of that time reading Evgeny Morozov's latest book *To Save Everything, Click Here* rather than do other things which I probably should be doing. But I'm unrepentant. The book moves quickly,

Read more →

Recent Popular Posts

February 13, 2014

Left Activism Goes Corporate: A Detour Through the Raw Food Underground

One of the most tedious features of the Silicon Valley Hype Machine is its endless repetition of progressive sounding marketing slogans about democracy and freedom, all while promoting a pro-business agenda. But it's too easy to read this as a sinister corporate ploy to co-opt the language of activists and twisting

Read more →
December 20, 2013

Civility: A Distance That Brings Us Together

Just in time for the holidays, Apple's marketing department released *[Misunderstood][1]*, an ad about a surly teenager absorbed in his iPhone in the midst of scenes of his family's idyllic Christmas togetherness. But he surprises everyone when he reveals that the whole time he was making a touching video for everyone

Read more →
January 26, 2014

Ten Parenting Lessons I Learned from Franz Kafka

Here's an adage which I think is true: every theory of parenting is implicitly a theory of society. It follows that even if you aren't a parent now, nor ever intend to be one, if you're interested in society and culture, you ought to be interested in the topic because the

Read more →