Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Fashion & Politiks

Many decades ago Benjamin screamed "Fashion, Mr. Death! Mr. Death!" ( Sounds Wonka-ish. !)

What you see is no longer what you get…Not only does the Ajuntament, Generalitat …invest billions to promote Barcelona as a city of peace and tolerance (Forum, Picasso...)… but also the producers of pop culture have appropriated the left-wing image (peace, multiculturalism, progressive politics, Americana 60s-70s…) to market, and many have totally bought into it. We can say that perhaps this left-wing imaginary is better than the contrary (like what we have back home, a scary streak of anti-intellectualism, which also has its apparel), because perhaps the humanitarian discourse, although superficial, after all does slightly sink into those who consume or perceive it (¿?). If representation is only superficial, does it make any difference if one's territory is represented with the image of Forum or of Iraqi War? Although superficial, perhaps the image is valuable in the sense that it is what initially attracts our attention to later explore it beyond its surface.

However, and most importantly, because left-wing discourse has become fashionable pop culture it occults actual social problems. In other words, as local society appears tolerant, as peace pins and third-world folkloric clothing (last summer in Barcelona Thai clothing was in, this summer it's Arabic!) and going to eat in pee-smelling ethnic neighborhoods becomes visibly popular among middle and upper class locals, real problems, such as marginalization by class or ethnicity or social class or gender, go further unnoticed because the false appearance is one of tolerance and integration.

The same can be said of Photography and Graphic Design and any visual arts that enter in the market. Left-wing discourse has become marketable strategy in these fields in the last couple years so we see things like pictures of "the other": ghettos, misery, indigenous populations, or third-world chabolas with the Gucci or Versace or University of whatever label stamped on them.

In conclusion, a marketed and/or fetishized image nowadays in more dangerous than beneficial and they're everywhere! So I make two difficult if not impossible suggestions: not consuming
what they tell you to and not assuming anything based on what you see (that also includes not assuming any significance ideology based on what someone is dressed in...). What do you think, Wall? (What?) This is part of the burden that any well-fed thinker carries on his/her shoulders.

As the Beatles have an answer for everything, I'll end with Golden Slumber:

You gotta carry that weight, carry that weight, a long time...
you never give your mooooney,
(bum bum bum bum)
you only give me some fuuuunny paper


Renee said...

Fortunately you are a very strong Sisyfus!

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