lifestyle trends of late capitalism

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Homeless Chic
– In January 1999 the Independent on Sunday ran a post-modern success story: A homeless person, camping outside the Savoy Hotel in London was “discovered” to become a supermodel! “Heroin chic is dead – Long live homeless chic”, it declared and reached new heights of cynicism. In Blair’s Third Way society, where class conflict is abolished, it is merely a career move to sleep in the street in mid-winter.

– Definitely spotted at one of The Royal Festival Hall’s music events, the temple of bourgeois culture with a “radical” gloss. Despicable hordes of middle-class goofs who hold the decrepid press (nameably lifestyle mags) and its unclear messages dear to their hearts. They are the legal rebels – walking the road of blind belief – taking supposed socio-political articles in The WIre, Sleazenation, and the likes seriously. Name-droppers of the worst sort, who convince themselves they are the new breed of intellectual elite, quick to come up with confused theories no matter the political context.

Voluntary Work
– Britain keeps cleaning up its statistics by excluding people entirely from what’s left of the welfare state. Under the voluntary work scheme people are offered £10 (ten) more than the dole cheque for 30 (thirty) hours of work per week. By declining they prove that really they don’t want to work and don’t deserve to be a part of society, so they have their dole cheques stopped. Concepts like this used to be called forced labour, and are about as voluntary as the concentration camps used to be, classically set up as labour camps (“Arbeit macht frei”). These days the state doesn’t even want to build the camps anymore, it’s all left up to the private sector.

Nouveau Blank
– Technophile without initiative, hypnotized by ad-banners on websites, they have no point of view or opinion unless they are firmly told: “click here”. Even then they are afraid of an emotional involvement… of responsibility beyond brand names…

Handy-Cults & E-mail Personality Disorders
– What was hailed as a liberatory function of the internet by some sectors is that by communicating over the net no one knows who you really are, no one can look in your eyes and your lies are not so easily discovered. You can “be” whoever you want to “be”. Propaganda lies are now available to everybody.
At the same time commuters, business people and everybody in the grip of the ecstasy of communication is talking into their mobiles, on the streets, in the trains, cars, in their breaks, so they don’t have to be dealing with the people around them… as they are watched by countless security cameras.

Pseudo Solutions and Murder
– To be “tough on crime” has been one of the keys to election success. Bush offed Dukakis on that ticket, and a whole economy is built around it that has abandonned outdated notions of “Justice” and is concentrating on the administration of a bizarre economy of pseudo-solutions.
Say, we have a crack problem in a run down neighbourhood, not the least important cause of which is that we are trying to finance a covert war with drug funds, and decided that the people in the said neighbourhood aren’t going to vote for us anyway. Since we need the money, we don’t want to solve the problem, and since the perpetrators at the higher levels are in league with us, we don’t want to put them behind bars. We can use the situation in different ways: Instead of ignoring it and therefore profiting we can profit twice – we can whip up a crime hysteria, and prove the necessity for more police state. With human sacrifice we can show the public that “we mean business” – remember: Bill Clinton had a mentally handicapped man executed in Arkansas to appear “tough on crime” to the electorate.

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