Why do the corporations feel comfortable..
- Why does the capitalist-corporate behemoth
feel quite comfortable promoting ideas that,
technically, threaten its existence?
I think it's probably because experience
shows thatevery "rebel" eventually becomes
"establishment" -- (Emenem, Bruce Springstein,
Andy Warhol, etc.)
By experience, the corporate sales-machine has
had no reason to be scared, so they do
not mind promoting ideas that "hate them,"
as long as there's a sales potential in it.
(God, I'm sounding like John Kenneth Galbraith
or something scary like that !)
= = = = = = = = = = = =
November 29, 2002
Leftist Culture: Alive and Well
by Edward Azlant
These folks were in no way purveyors of a classical liberalism like
that of Isiah Berlin, with its core notions of a civil community
brokering an eternally tentative, foxy pluralism of competing values.
These folks were and are full tilt hedgehog monists, shifting shape
as they exclude their intellectual adversaries, through ideology,
hiring, campus speech codes, and even the commandeering of student
But it may be the aesthetic experience that's been most telling....
To look back over the last half century is to recognize that the pop
culture wars have been won by the left, in a route as total as Desert
How can anyone who has at least one working TV set in the home
believe in capitalist cultural hegemony?
Confounding the expectations of the Frankfurt School of cultural
analysis, it has not been bourgeois values but rather underclass
identity and avant-garde aesthetics that have been reified by mass
culture, made into perfect commodities for adolescent consumption,
the rope sold to the children of affluence.
Capitalist cultural hegemony ranks as an analytical mistake alongside
the failure of the German working class to revolt, again indicating
the breathtaking inability of the social science left, who are out
there at the nearest university teaching it to the kids, to
comprehend how things actually work and what would actually happen.
This line of reified poses of alienation extends all the way forward
to today's pastiche of street and prison chic, hordes of middle class
kids at the mall pierced and tattooed, seemingly decked out like
tenderloin hookers and Pelican Bay killers on the yard, shaved and
mutilated, speaking and moving in media rhythms and images of
underworld gang toughs manqué, beyond Bakunin's wildest fantasy of
criminality informing revolt.
If this sense of a reified, mass market culture of rebellion seems
far fetched, you need only reflect on the stacks of Noam Chomsky's
9/11 next to the cash register at Virgin Records to recognize how
perfectly these elements come together: the seductive conspiracy of a
savagely deracinated Jeremiad, the vanguard cult of revolt and art,
the teenage sympathy for the devil's pleasures.
. . . . . . . .
Edward Azlant, Ph.D. in Communication, has worked as a record
producer, screenwriter, and college professor, and written for
Rolling Stone and Film History.