Pass Me The Benzo

Submitted by Stav

I. Commodification

“if apostates and unbelievers can put up Christmas trees in blatant appropriation of my culture i can say the n word

“change my mind, retards”

            The “War on Christmas” was rigged from the start. It was an in-joke everyone but the Boomers and Boomers-in-spirit knew, because only Boomers had the fatal lack of comprehension required to even identify something as supposedly natural as Progress as a “war” of any sort. For the case of the “War on Christmas”, they made the mistake of not comprehending identity politics – and without this comprehension, one cannot understand consumptive identity politics (namely, I am who I am because of what I buy). Consumptive identity politics is one of those fatal Pandora’s Box memes in the same spirit of irony – once it’s out society is forever changed (imagine sincereposting without knowing what irony is), and generations that don’t have the neuroplasticity to deal with its release will never comprehend what it is. Consumptive identity politics is also beautifully in-step with commodification, the transformation of anything & everything into something that can be bought & sold on the free market (see also: “marketplace of ideas”, as if we can trade information – something often reproducible with very low to no cost).

            Women are easily exploited via commodified memories, or cheaply purchasable experiences-as-memories. Consider the Boomer: the 1940s and 1950s Christmas periods, however sexist/racist/etc. they may be, remain the founding and forming principles that our culture defines Christmas experiences around. Gen X thinks of this sort of thing as being forced on them & their Millenial cousins by the Boomers, though the roots go back a little further – look no further than A Christmas Story, Snowball Express, and other such family holiday comedies wherein the family is subjected to a vision of the “perfect holiday” (which comically fails in such a manner that everyone learns an important life lesson). The Millenials fall into the same boat as Gen X with regards to Christmas; they’re more susceptible than their elders with regards to “resistance”-type media such as The Handmaid’s Tale. Zoomers treat all this nonsense as quaint nostalgia that gets carted out with marked-up price tags for the annual Ugly Sweater contest at their school, with the occasional exception of fanatical adherence to base (highly-visible) principles like putting up Christmas trees on 1 November, blasting Sinatra for two months straight, and buttchugging candy cane vodka. As an aside, the Venn diagram of the sort of girl that hangs stockings before Thanksgiving and the sort of girl that gets spoiled yearly by Disneyworld is a circle (both activities are inherently childish and infantilized bastardizations of what may have at one point been tradition, and so on and so on).

            Does any man (real or alleged) you know choose to watch Hallmark holiday specials from the 1990s, decorate the house with plastic pine boughs, or go to Disneyland without his wine bar gf? Sure, there’s a few, but they’re already gay (for polite company, “statistically insignificant”). More generally, men are profitable via commodification but it is of a different extent and a good deal less profitable. Gays and the trans-gendered, however, are good consumers to the bone. I shouldn’t need to illuminate the buying habits of homosexuals (two movies about gay musicians in the past year should be enough), but transgenders tend to fetishize consumption in a way rivaled only by obsessive collectors. Weeb trannies stack plushies, dolls, and so on (it’s only ironic sis I promise!) while techie trannies won’t stop buying up all the old hardware (this C64 is the same kind that was handed down to me in 1995 because we were poor) and the gamer trannies keep buying RGB LED LGBTQIA+ CPU HSUs every two years to keep up with new clock speeds (look I can set the light colors to the trans flag!). The bottom line, here at least, is that man is not as exploitable via commodification as women, gays, and tranoids: this must be rectified.

            In many cases, it is being rectified. Boomers have their classic cars, their boats, their RVs, their lakefront properties and their condos. Gen Xers buy manliness as a craft beer or a beard oil. Millenials have that and all sorts of wonderful replica capes and lightsabers to buy. Zoomers? Well, boss, we’re still figuring that out, but these kids sure can do the Victory Royale dance, can’t they?

II. Reaction to Commodification

“Clown World – 4 months ago – It’s like the smiths but gayer and more acoustic”

            The Book Club is a YouTube channel with seven and a half thousand subscribers, run by an autistic frequenter of /lit/ who seems to be English. This poor soul is Quentin. In Big Daddy Q’s repertoire are skits, video essays, book reviews, and music; the skill he displays in these varies based on his mood but the music tends towards good and fairly reactionary. “Friendo” is a reinterpretation of SoundCloud rap in an acoustic fashion, like how Reznor used “Big Man With A Gun” to re-imagine rap themes of the 1990s in an industrial fashion. “The Sword of Michael” is a Homeric-Miltonian work referencing Paradise Lost via the title and every acoustic breakup song via its content. “Spider pig joke” is a self-referential dig at “friendo” (& other pieces on the channel) that pokes some fun at loneliness, drugs, and the like – “speed is a cool way / to get out of your head”. “😔” is at least partially in the vein of American Football, with a guitar riff reminiscent of “Never Meant” and lyrics very typical of a lonely WASP male.

            Most of the videos on the channel are not what an academic or a PR hire would call “accessible”, but if you were to print off a few copies of a Book Club EP the songs would fit right in with any number of popular indie cuts. This is a conscious decision – Quentin has musical chops from past band projects. These tracks are an attempt at subverting, or at least imitating, the sort of music that more politically mainstream artists produce. A passage from Mike Ma’s Harassment Architecture comes to mind in which Ma explains many of the artists he enjoys are left-leaning (against his right-wing tendencies), as are their fans; Q likely knows this and is attempting to produce a reactionary counter free of traditional market influences. Regardless of whether it’s conscious or subconscious imitation, it’s far more listenable than anything else coming out of the right, catchiness of Negative XP and artistic schizophrenia of SADVILLAIN be damned.

III. Commodification of Reaction to Commodification

“[she] was brought to me by the algorithm… I think discussion of her is banned from /mu/”

            The quality of Joker and other related topics aren’t worth discussing; one could say plenty of reviews exist but all you really need to do is point at its box office performance to get the picture. Before it came out and in the initial throes of responding to its success, many have argued that Joker, while entertaining/representative/so on, is ultimately little more than the Cathedral exploiting another movement for profit. Edward Chang/John Chapman/Borzoi was one of the more staunch proponents of this argument to the point of multiple Twitter threads on it. This is just Internet drama, not too much time should be spent on it, but counterarguments have been made pointing to the surprise of the director and some actors at the backlash received – and the cycle of argument-counterargument-countercounterargument can go on forever. Do you really think anyone from “the inside” would tell you if it was or wasn’t a psyop?

            The artist Clairo is a psyop. I’ve only seen one music video/heard one song,  “Pretty Girl”, but from the outset it was completely obvious what’s going on the first time I watched it. Clairo’s just one in the ranks of thousands of egirls-in-the-old-sense: she’s meant to get you to buy product (music from the record industry) not out of horniness (present as secondary desire) but primarily out of loneliness. For other artists throughout this century, look at Hayley Williams of Paramore (00s), Lauren Mayberry and Lana Del Rey (early 10s), Grimes (mid 10s), Billie Eilish (late 10s), any number of TikThots (jockeying for attention on a Chinese app), and more generally every art hoe or “art hoe adjacent” that’s been in any sort of mainstream. Boxxy was a psyop, for those who’d remember her. All these play the “I’m a smol quirky bean who listens to Death Grips so random xD” card to get legions of “men” orbiting as exploitation of the protective instinct, and it works rather well. The exact content of the strategy or message may change, but the concept remains the same: they’re posing as vulnerable, and you’ll fall for it. Behind these are a giant systemic Cathedral, ready to give direct or indirect support of conveniently manipulating the YouTube recommendation algorithm or conveniently providing cheap birth control and porn. Some even argue that TikTok, being owned by a Chinese AI company, could be a testing ground for AIs to procedurally generate digital stars as next-generation Hatsune Mikus. We’re far beyond the uncanny valley.

            A convincing argument could be made that Clairo’s an alternate universe Quentin – she donates profits to the Transgender Law Center, he goes on road trips across the American countryside to yell the n-word at his sister twerking on an offroad vehicle. Clairo has Christmas lights strung Instagram-like across cute map posters on her wall, Q stacks books haphazardly in the shelves he climbs to yell about finding some Grail or other. Quentin doesn’t explain very much (if anything) about his music, but Clairo reveals all (in tabloid fashion) with the pinned “read the description ! :)” comment. Reading over Quentin’s lyrics reveal a poetic bent and could be compared to the Japanese tradition of linked verses while Clairo thumbs out an ironic breakup SMS. All these can be split any number of ways, but the anticipatory subversion of lonely males by shoving a cute girl in their faces instead of a racist twink pseud shows a canniness that the Cathedral sometimes lacks, and the fact that it works well enough makes things all the worse.

IV. Reaction to Commodification of Reaction to Commodification

“Hahahahahahahaha How The Fuck Is Commodification Real Hahahaha Nigga Just Walk Away From The Market Like Nigga Burn Your Money Haha”

            The unfortunate fact of the matter is that there’s no real way to fight commodification like this and psyops like these on a societal scale. “Your guy” will never be in power no matter how much you meme; even Trump has done little of substance since election for the average person who voted him in. From that point the argument, like many others, becomes “go local”, but how do you outcompete someone down the road who makes money off what you’re doing for free and uses those funds to industrialise and do even more of it? You can go blackpill and just say it’ll be a neverending spiral of commodify-react-commodify-react, or you could be a neocon, put your foot down, and say “THIS is the last acceptable commodification!” until you lose your battle on that hill and have to slip a few feet further down the slope. The commies (or some of them) say that you can just step away from every market and things will turn out fine, since they’re inherently discriminatory and fascist. Libertarians want everything to be a market without restrictions, so you can commodify anything and everything to make sure your thoughts get you some cash. Varying degrees of centrist want varying degrees of control.

            Evidently pretending to have a solution to this is not productive. Frankly, I don’t have a solution and I don’t think saying we should strive for one will do anything but distract us from things that matter. To me, we should be wary of what we get ourselves into by focusing so deeply on identifying with groups because of what they do (or don’t) tell us to buy. We shouldn’t be the purchase police and lock down everything for the sake of moral uprightness, but come on, do we really think we’re better than Joe Sixpack because our beer was ethically sourced? Grow up.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Spooky N says:

    “The things that you end up owning, end up owning you” comes to mind.

    Like

  2. adamantia says:

    You’ve read Idoru, I presume?

    Like

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