‘The society of the spectacle’
Guy Debord – 1967
Key relevant notes
I Separation Perfected
4. Images control human social relationships. “It is a social relationship between people that is mediated by images.”
“Weltanschauung” – meaning a world view of a group/individual.
15. “the spectacle is the chief product of present day society.” – consuming/ watching the performance of consumerism.
18. “it is inevitable that it (the spectacle) should elevate the human sense of sight to the special place once occupied by touch; the most abstract of the senses, and the most easily deceived” – consumerism and mass media means that sight is more often deceived less reliable than it once was.
19. “So far from realising philosophy, the spectacle philosophises reality, and turns the material life of everyone into a universe of speculation.”
21. “The spectacle is the bad dream of modern society in chains, expressing nothing more than its wish for sleep. The spectacle is the guardian of that sleep.” – Metaphor for consumerism, not allowing opinion movement or the basic human needs.
25. Through the spectacle cultural promises are never met. Promises aren’t realistic. Much like the American dream.
27. The spectacle allows no freedom apart from activity, which is banned in the spectacle. No freedom, must do what the spectacle says is right.
35. The more independent you are the more you are cut off. Reminds me of Corey Doctorows book ‘Little Brother’ if you try and be different or make a stand you become isolated and a target.
II The commodity as spectacle
38. The spectacle only cares about quantitive. It’s more about numbers than it is substance. No one cares what you are buying as long as you are buying something.
III Unity and devision within appearances
59. Behind the glittery surface of mass media and the spectacle are passive consumers.
60. The portrayal of the celebrity is the unachievable version of labour. Work hard, buy products and this could be you. It’s a goal for consumers which in unattainable.
69. Each product you buy is a shortcut to total consumption.