Friday, June 25, 2010

Why I continue to read Shakesville

Seeing a single sentence that indicates both the clarity of thought needed to conclude that
We are as consumerist, greedy, market-driven a capitalist culture as exists on the planet, in which needs are created just to sell products to serve those conjured needs
and a desperate plea for improved inclusion in that culture, for more products for ME!!!, has something of the sublime about it.

In better news, more-and-more-frequent Shakesville blogger eastsidekate has been fairly consistently impressing me recently with both personal narratives and posts about capitalism and class written in a way that even Shakesculters might be able to grasp.

8 comments:

ASP said...

"More products for me" is not plea for more products, for an inclusion into consumerist culture, but a plea for fat people to be recognized as normal people. Fat people as consumers are ignored because society believes being fat is wrong and fat people must conform to the society's standards of acceptable appearance, instead of society accepting fat people. I am a fat person, and I can't walk into most stores expecting to find clothes for myself (unless I walk straight to the men's isle). I am not sad that the consumerist culture is not making it possible for me to be a better consumer. I am sad because every time a salesperson says "we don't stock these in your size" I always feel a pang of shame, and I hate being ashamed of who I am.

Ethan said...

I am not sad that the consumerist culture is not making it possible for me to be a better consumer. I am sad because every time a salesperson says "we don't stock these in your size" I always feel a pang of shame, and I hate being ashamed of who I am.

Yes, absolutely, which is why I support attempts to remove as much of the authority that salesperson represents as possible, rather than pleading with our Betters to supply us with more and better product.

I should note that it wasn't that one post in isolation that prompted my response, but the larger pattern of which it is a part. I'm absolutely in favor of expressing frustration that you can't find anything in your size when you go to the store, just like I'm in favor of complaining that, say, Obama's not doing what he said he would.

At a certain point, though, it becomes clear that many people aren't interested in looking any further than that, and think the solution would be an Obama who does do what he says he would, or a store that sells everything anyone could ever want. And that, to me, is a problem.

Jack Crow said...

With all due respect, ASP, capitalists don't owe us shit - not clothing sizes, not movies that make us happy, not more [insert preferred minority] in positions of power.

And the moment we convince ourselves that they do have obligations to us, they own us.

Own us in a lock down hold that's real hard to break.

When we beg them to provide us with commodities which make us more dependent on them, that's not a victory for us.

ASP said...

The salespersons don't have authority on their own - they are a physical embodiment, a concrete manifestation, of the entire culture and society that ignore or disapprove of a large part of the population. You cannot remove the authority of the salesperson without changing how the society as a whole addresses you. If stores suddenly recognized the existence of fat people and their needs for clothes they would not just become stores that sell stuff for fat people - they would signify a cultural and social shift. Insisting on this is not a short-sighted fight for merely more and better product.

ASP said...

With all due respect, Jack, culture is not created only by capitalists, but also by ordinary people and their resistance to capitalist imposed restrictions and human relations. The attempts of the fat/size acceptance movement for the society to recognize fat people as normal is part of that resistance.

Ethan said...

The salespersons don't have authority on their own

Yes, they are wage slaves. I was referring to the corporate-conferred authority that the salesperson represents in your story.

If stores suddenly recognized the existence of fat people and their needs for clothes they would not just become stores that sell stuff for fat people

I sincerely, sincerely hope that I didn't suggest that I thought this would be the case, and if I did, I am very sorry. All I am trying to say is that petitioning corporations is not the best way to effect change.

Jack Crow said...

ASP,

I'm not discussing culture. I'm discussing commodities. As Ethan noted in the original: products.

Getting capitalists to make more [insert body type needs] commodities means becoming more dependent on the...

...capitalists.

Class oppression cannot be reduced to mere culture, or to juvenile battle for cultural inclusion.

Make your own culture, I think. Stop looking for someone to sell it to you.*

*- that's a generic "you," not a personal one.

ASP said...

A suggestion to make your own culture is not a suggestion to resist, but to disengage. This effects no change, whatsoever. That may be preferable to you, but I don't find that appealing.

Also, juvenile? Thanks for that condescending attitude.

petitioning corporations

I don't think that what the fat/size movement is doing to effect cultural change can be reduced to that. This is included because a change in consumer culture will reflect and influence a wider cultural change, but is not reducible to merely this.