Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Marx in Pop Culture

One entertaining irony about capitalism is when people profit from anti-capitalist ideas. Due to the highly negative image of communism in American culture, the ideas must be hidden in some fashion to be profitable: disguised as anarchy or countercultural ideas. This may be a result of the fact that communism and socialism actually inspire an image of dictatorship and oppression as existed in the USSR and still exists in China. The underlying ideas, however, have a great deal of artistic power. Fight Club is one example of a very popular movie within the past ten years that used communist and socialist ideas. By destroying a number of banks and credit centers, the 'proletariat' in that movie plans to erase the credit record, setting everybody back to zero and taking away the monetary power of the 'bourgeois'.

What are some examples of Marxist thought found in American pop culture that have affected you?

Money and "Natual Selection"

There is an excerpt in Marx’s “The Power of Money in Bourgeois Society” that is quite relevant to the world we live in today. At one point in human history nature provided the true incentives followed by individuals for example in mate selection. The survival of the fittest was an eternal conflict based on biological or natural drives in which the most viable individuals those with the best adaptations (physical build/beauty) were the ones that were most successful in acquiring the highest number of mates. Those most naturally fit would thus be the leaders or dominant individuals of the species.
Today this natural selection process has in way been tainted and corrupted by the illusions created by capitalism. Marx’s posits (in Applerouth and Edles, 2008) that “The extent of the power of money is the extent of my power” and “Thus, what I am and am capable of is by no means determined by my individuality. I am ugly, but I can buy for myself the most beautiful women. Therefore I am not ugly, for the ugliness –its deterrent power—is nullified by money” ; in my opinion this does occur more often in a world driven by fetish commodities. An individual’s chances of securing a mate are more and more dependent not on character, personality, or even physical beauty/prowess (or intelligence for that matter) but on the bulk of cash in her/his bank account and the purchasing power this cash can afford.
Where I come from this phenomenon is right there in the open. Persons that were not even given the time of day because of there lack of physical attractiveness all of a sudden are surrounded by a countless number of potential mates because of a dramatic change in their standard of living. When at one time the individual got around on an old vehicle and dressed in used, faded clothing and is now driving a late model Cadillac and wrapped in name brand clothes the only things that have remained constant are these person’s looks. Where the money comes from does not matter as long as it arrives. Marx had a point, does anyone agree?

Applerouth, S. & Edle, L. D.2008.Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory: Text
Readings.Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Communism is INEVITABLE!

Marx stated in his Communist Manifesto that society moves from one stage to another due to various rules that appear to be unstoppable. First, he mentioned that we belong to the time of capitalism because of our fetishism with material good (or materialism). He mentioned that due to our human nature the proletariat will become ever increasing (in numbers) until a revolution happens that overthrows the elite or the people in power. In the United States today, the elite form part of the richest one (1) percent of the population, and the proletariat or the working class is everyone else. Because Marx predicted this, and seems to be inevitable, how or what else is necessary for the United States to undergo a revolution? Would you agree that a revolution that will lead the United States into communism is about to happen? and if so will this revolution be a political one, or one that will require arms and violence?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Discussion Agenda

On this blog, we will explore connections between social theories and news stories, current events, books, movies, web pages, other blogs, etc.