Identity politics, cancel culture, wokeness, echo-chamber media, tribalism, data science profiling of individuals into big data demographics; the latest evolutions of the world’s hegemonic force – consumer capitalism. It’s creating a monopoly on customers, same as its corporations create a monopoly on industry and product.
COMPREHENSIVE FREE MARKET
The market permeates every corner of society. It’s as comprehensive as capitalism. The market isn’t just one way. It’s not only a million choices. The profit end-goal wants consumers. The market is as much about creating consumers as creating consumables.
Culture, individuality, talent: impossible to profile, bad unpredictable consumers. Aesthetically pleasing, bubblebrains, relatable form over nuanced substance like lottery winners: easy to profile, replaceable like the latest sneaker. People who happen to get famous are famous only while they’re successful (profitable) brand ambassadors shifting consumables; and get incredibly well paid for as long as it lasts. Merch, merch, merch.
WEALTHY INDIVIDUALS (CORPORATIONS) AND BILLIONS OF CONSUMERS
As has always been the case, the wealthy have power over enough money it gives them significance in the free market as individuals. The rest of the world is not significant except as a target demographic; which it’s increasingly being brought into line with. Identity politics? That’s imposed branding on human culture. Cancel culture? That’s the punishment for individuals who fuck up by going off brand – doesn’t matter if it’s court of law criminal, only matters if they can restore brand integrity or not. If not, cancelled.
“Gradually I began to realize that modern advertising could be seen less as an agent of materialism than as one of the cultural forces working to disconnect human beings from the material world.” – T. J. Jackson Lears
MEDIA, INSTITUTIONS AND CORPORATE-STATE GOVERNMENT
- Why is the corporate oligarchy going all-in with polarization?
- Why all the #metoo?
- Why does Pepsi publish an opinion on Trans Rights?
- Why all the renaming buildings?
- Why does Big Tech encourage the echo chambers?
- Why does everything media have to be on-message, CNN neoliberal, Fox neoconservative?
- Why is it orthodoxy over everything else?
We live in a real-world of consumer capitalism. Money on the one hand, consumption on the other. Products and services, good value, bad value. Fifty years ago it would’ve been unthinkable to talk in terms of a National Health Service offering value for money. Value for whose money? Taxpayers? Do people get a refund on bad value years? In any case, it’s 2020 and public services are part of the consumer capitalist economy. Let’s get back to the opening questions.
Everything in the media, everything in the papers is subordinated to the advertising imperative. Advertising goes in between content (else we wouldn’t watch) but the content serves the advertising, make no mistake. Marketing is the big money spigot for big tech and the biggest money is in the Big Data. Advertising needs expert psychology too. It wants its message absorbed by the audience. It wants brand recognition. It wants to parse desire into products and services. It succeeds when it turns ambition into greed.
Advertising has analyzed the Big Data. It predicts your viscera better than you predict it yourself. Advertising knows desire is parsed into product and absorbed as brand recognition best when your mind is passive, non-resistant to the advertising. Advertising has studied human biology. It knows the human brain uses conscious problem solving to deal with the world when it’s serving up problems; when the limbic mindful moment is in discord. Disagreement is a problem. Encountering disagreement wakes the pro-active conscious mind, fuelled with feel-bad emotions, first reaction being to resist.
Advertising doesn’t want you to resist. Advertising knows an active conscious human being is a whole different animal to a passive one. Advertising wants you passive. Our minds process accord unconsciously, passive. Advertising wants to offer you the path of no resistance in a complex world, and advertising regulates the media, content included.
Entertainment needs to be in accord, more mainstream, greater accord. Make it anodyne. Make it homogenous. News must present its clickbait fear-porn without it creating too much discord. How? Confirmation bias, audience selection by demographics, echo chambers. Confirmation bias rules the roost.
Off-demographic dissonance within the echo chamber is purged. News reports truth, albeit cherry-picked to suit the echo chamber. If it can’t be cherry-picked into accord with the confirmation bias, truth goes bye-bye. Demographics ensure best response for best suited products.
“Consumption kept the workers working, which kept the paychecks coming, which kept the people spending, which kept the investors investing, which meant there was more to consume. The system, properly understood, was independent of values and needed no philosophy to prop it up. It was a perfect circle, complete in itself – and empty in the middle.” – Laurence Shanes
Woke identity politics and conspiracy theory luddite individualism are two sides of the same campaign, the most ambitious advertising campaign in history. The campaign is advertising orthodoxy. Two teams – red team blue team – polarizing the population, both poles subordinated to corporate oligarchy and the government it controls. Subordinated to what orthodoxy? Consumerism. Consumerism is the enemy. It’s all about feeding the consumer capitalism and its need for a population of perpetual consumption.
Consumerism demands consumers. It wants us unconscious, following the trends. Trending. It wants us conforming to our profile demographic data. Polarized consumers are the most docile – following ideology, suspending critical faculties, unconscious orthodoxy: these are the best honed consumers.
Big business is all-in on identity politics. It doesn’t care about nuance or uncontrollable voices – cancel them! It’s truth and fact and faith and opinion reduced to a worldview that’s all brand names. A renamed building is a rebranded building. A trans man identifying as a trans man is a human self-branding; training others to see people through a lens of identity branding. Consumers of identity. Consumers consuming branded virtue. Consumers consuming a branded world of brand name products and brand name people.
Branding people is dumbed down people making degraded branded art and culture. Merch, merch, nothing but merch. “If a human being can wear their individuality on a T-shirt we have a problem. Either the wearer of the T-shirt or the observer of the T-shirt is a moron. The nightmare world is when it’s both.”
The market is a macroeconomic engine perpetually seeking profit to exploit. Including exploitation of people, by people, for people. The consumer capitalist system has well served the oligarchs of the market. It should be no surprise, once corporate wealth broke cover in its takeover of government (90s neoliberalism and denouement in the aftermath of the Financial Crisis 2007/2008) they used successful consumer capitalist model to ‘reboot’ old-fashioned truth, fact and integrity politics. We live in the reboot. We get branding, team orthodoxy, and celebrity (or caricature). Good guys and bad guys. Buy it. Don’t buy it.