Humans Of Late Capitalism, Interpreted. #1. Riot Grrrl Commodification.

This is a series in which i randomly find something interesting on the supremely interesting “Humans of late capitalism” twitter account. Cheap content is in demand, and boy is this quick and cheap, like fast food, or like basically anything we consume (i can sense that you get the irony here).

In the Modern world, Terminal late Capitalism is the name of the game, even know your meme has a more or less accurate definition of it, it is the air we breath in the west. Everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING, up to and including ideological programming, can be packaged and commodified.

This image really draws me in for a number of reasons, most of all the main theme being this poetic backroom communique (probably from some state college), is more or less a grimy critique of capital. The ironic conceit in the literary sense of HOLC is that even this is a product of modern capital. At this point, I Bet You are wondering how, and for that, we need a very quick and butchered summary of new left thinking since the 60s, at least in regards to “sexual politics”.

Since Marcuse’s seminal work “Eros and Civilization”, the new Left, or rather, the contemporary left more or less views a sure way to breaking the existential bonds of capital is “free love”. In other words, as Marcuse basically asserted (and this is a very basic summary of his thesis), rampant sexual expression would “free” the modern alienated subject from the oppressive confines of one dimensionality imposed on us by modern capitalist societies.

We would then live in pleasure utopias, free of judgement, or so this is what the hippies and sex-politics academics believed; The reality of it, as we all know now, is that this thesis is left wanting. What the sexual revolution and its proponents (and the modern hedonist hipsters like the one who scribbled this message on a dirty bathroom wall) did not take into account is the ability of capital to use this new sexual permissiveness against the very hedonists that employ it as a tactic. “Sex sells” is given a new meaning once you realize inane sexual politics only centers the modern subject in a state of groundless and empty pleasure-seeking, stripping sex of its metaphysical power. If its just an animistic desire, why not sell it like anything else? Sexual “liberation” does not seem quite so considering how bitter, detached, and even afraid people are of intimacy and commitment. The real deathblow to the sexual liberation thesis is that the destruction of most sexual mores, traditions and social taboos has only ended up as being a mass distraction from the real machinations of late capitalism. The Id-Pol crowd on the left  proves time and time again that despite the lip service paid to “the revolution” (be is actively pursued or waited for in a dialectical fashion) they play right into the velvet hands of Neoliberalism.

This is what makes HOLC such a brilliant twitter account, it shreds even the most fervent of left-activist sloganeering that has zero self-awareness. Of course the phrase comes from the band (led by radical feminist punk rock icon and abortion activist Kathleen Hanna) Bikini Kill, specifically the song “Rebel girl”, about a girl who’s coolness and latent sexual expression starts “the revolution”. The 90s Riot Grrrl punk scene was quite something back in the day. It was really an artistic seed that was planted which grew into the modern sexual politics of intersectional third-wave feminism we see today. As a painter, the aesthetics of post-feminist 90s Riot Grrrl fits this image perfectly, that rebellious hipster/hippie thrift store look you would see in big cities like New York and Toronto….

Anyways, capital has gotten to sex, and has muted its revolutionary capability. In my Opinion it would be a better disruption of modern capitalism to abstain from the current hook-up/hedonism culture, and live a modest life as a family person. What a time to be alive! oh and by the way, the song “Rebel Girl”. That too was featured in a Hillary Clinton campaign add, and more ironically, in the video game Rock Band 2. It seems like a fitting image to the never-ending gallery of HOLC.

 

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