Tag Archives: consumerism

Why we need a politics of ‘spirit’ not consumption

Most people reading this are probably wondering what a “politics of spirit” could possibly mean. After all, it seems like an oxymoron to juxtapose “politics” and “spirit”. I would agree with that, at first sight anyway. Until you read Bernard Stiegler’s transfixing book, The Re-Enchancement of the World, subtitled: The Value of Spirit against Industrial…

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The fragmented bodies of consumerism

The advertising industry seemed to be working really hard to get the consumer’s attention this festive season. A few ads caught my eye — for the wrong reasons. While browsing at Stuttafords I was confronted with an image of a woman’s legs while the rest of her body formed the shape of a Christmas tree…

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The ‘stupidifation’ of our societies and failure of universities

It may come as quite a shock to learn that, contrary to what we are constantly told through the media, we actually live in the age of the systematic “stupidification” and infantilisation of society. What, I can hear most readers say with exasperation and indignation — we live in the age of information, of “knowledge…

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The problem with the Rémy Martin man

Mayihlome Tshwete is the face of Rémy Martin. The billboard is plastered arrogantly in Rosebank (you can’t miss it if you’re driving down Bolton Road). The kind of masculinity advertised by the campaign — “You only get one life. Live them” — features young men such as Tshwete as the “product” of the slash generation….

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Who are you calling radical?

The planet needs activism. It is being drilled, mined, excavated, pumped, and fracked more than ever before. Rivers are clogged with clingwrap, Simba packets, and toxic dyes; saturated with the run off from crops that are lathered in pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilisers. Forests are being wiped out: Even in the DRC where the Congo…

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A little known history of cocaine (Part 4)

For the part three of the series, please click here. In 1906 the US passed the Pure Food and Drugs Act that formally began the regulation of cocaine and the opiates, limiting their use to the medical sphere. In 1914 the Harrison Act was passed, which can usefully be seen as the beginning of the…

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Our alien mother ship

I’d just watched the new Tom Cruise sci-fi about alien machines who invade the planet to suck up Earth’s resources. The movie has a happy ending, though: the alien mother ship is destroyed and Tom gets back to his rustic cabin, his family, nature. Like in most sci-fi’s, the planet is fought for and saved,…

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The Harlem Shake and Western illusion of freedom

Co-authored with Arsalan Khan When five teenagers in Queensland, Australia, uploaded a video of themselves dancing to a short excerpt of Baauer’s song Harlem Shake it immediately went viral, garnering some 400 million views and spawning well over 100 000 copycat versions. Critiques of the fad thus far have pointed out that it looks nothing at all…

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An alternative to the typical shopping mall

Not all places where shopping is or may be done, necessarily have to be of the reductive, spatially homogeneous, dehumanising type, exemplified by the standard shopping mall. An example of a shopping space design that is heterogeneously structured, into which ”other” spaces ”flow”, or with which it intersects, is furnished by Erik Grobler, a final-year…

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The shopping mall as consumer architecture

Referring to the moment, in Plato’s Symposium, where the lover supposedly beholds a completely disembodied, atemporal “beauty”, in the process conforming to the character of this abstraction, Kaja Silverman says (World Spectators, 2000: 10): “This deindividuation of the look represents a crucial feature of the process through which Socrates negates phenomenal forms. This is because…

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