For me, the most amusing feature of Clown World is that our Postmodern Marxists — the ones who can’t even spell “proletariat” — have proven that Karl Marx was 100% right. It’s a weird, antimatter kind of Marxism, but it’s the world we live in. Consider:
Marx argued that capitalism ends up making everything into a commodity (this is called “reification;” use it at least four times in six paragraphs if you want to ace your Soash 202 final). And by “everything,” he meant everything — art, love, beauty, friendship, all of it “is brought to the market, to be assessed at its truest value.” And he was right! The only thing is, “its truest value” turns out to be zero.
You can put the Mona Lisa on t-shirts, on posters… it should be a snap, with scanners and 3D printers, to turn out a plastic version indistinguishable from the real thing, right down to the smudges of Leonardo’s fingerprints (I hope I didn’t give just any aspiring art forgers an idea). So much for beauty, and as for friendship, well, who really keeps up with old friends anymore? Email killed letters, Facebook killed email, and we all know how Facebook works. “Gosh, Johnny was a great guy back in the days, but oh look, he posted a meme that is less than 100% condemnatory of Donald Trump. Unfriend!!!” Take it out as far as you please — if it isn’t totally in line with what you’re feeling right now, this second, then it’s useless, and into the trash bin it goes, because why not? It’s all just bytes and pixels.
See also: The current chimpout over statues, any statues, of anyone, anywhere. If it doesn’t make sense to you, read the above paragraph again. What could possibly be the point of a statue, any statue? It’s just some person who did something, as Ilhan Omar would say. There’s no point to having it up, and pulling it down feels good, so pull it down! The urge to destroy is also a creative urge, Bakunin said, and he too was right — since the Postmodern Marxist’s “life” is nothing but a constant act of self-fashioning, pulling down a statue is a small price to pay for a temporary virtue hit. Or — see above — it’s actually no price at all, because you could have a new statue up tomorrow, exactly like the original, for nothing.
Marx also said that capitalism reduces people to nothing but their labor. Again, he was 100% right, antimatter-style. Most of us have long suspected that lots of “jobs” out there are make-work. We even sensed it as kids. What could Mom and Dad possibly be doing all day, while we’re sitting in daycare or vegging out in front of MTV, that’s so all-fired important? I can’t for the life of me figure out what lawyers and CPAs do to keep themselves busy all day, to say nothing of the world’s customer service representatives. Hell, I was a customer service representative, back when high school and college kids could get boiler-room type jobs for summer work. The only real-world skill I learned was how to look busy for seven hours, given that I’d finished all my actual, productive tasks by 9 am.
That was thirty years ago. Thanks to the Kung Flu, it’s clear that “lots of jobs are make-work” really means something like “90% of jobs, at least, are make-work.” During the lockdown, I changed my insurance, got a routine physical, picked up some prescriptions, made some investments and liquidated some others, helped my sister’s kids with their homework, got a new pair of glasses, and, oh yeah, continued to work a full schedule at my bill-paying job… all remotely, without coming into physical contact with another living soul. So what earthly good are my insurance agent, my doctor, my pharmacists, my broker and banker, any teachers, my optometrist, let alone any of their support staff — receptionists, bookkeepers, back-office drones of all types?
Take it out a step further: What good am I, myself, under those circumstances, if I could still do my job 100% remotely? Surely I’m no exception to the attitude — already common before the Kung Flu, now nearly universal — that asks, “why can’t this be a smartphone app?” Answer: I’m not. I, too, could easily be a smartphone app.
If that ain’t alienation, so pure that Karl Marx must be getting a stiffie down in Hell, then buddy, nothing could be.
Draw what lessons from that you will. If you’ve actually read Marx, you know what his answer would be….Loading Likes...