Monday, November 26, 2007
ASLO: Nannies and Arsonists
K-Punk has finally put up his long-promised "Marxist Supernanny" post, and it's well well worth the wait:
Rather like many teachers or other workers in what used to be called ‘public service’, Supernanny has to sort out problems of socialization that the family can no longer resolve. A Marxist Supernanny would of course turn away from the troubleshooting of individual families to look at the structural causes which produce the same repeated effect.
The problem is that late capitalism insists and relies upon the very equation of desire with interests that parenting used to based on rejecting. In a culture in which the ‘paternal’ concept of duty has been subsumed into the ‘maternal’ imperative to enjoy, it can seem that the parent is failing in their duty if they in any way impede their children’s absolute right to enjoyment. Partly this is an effect of the increasing requirement that both parents work; in these conditions, when the parent sees the child very little, the tendency will often be to refuse to occupy the ‘oppressive’ function of telling the child what to do. The parental disavowal of this role of is doubled at the level of cultural production by the refusal of 'gatekeepers' to do anything but give audiences what they already (appear to) want. The concrete question is: if a return to the paternal superego - the stern father in the home, Reithian superciliousness in broadcasting - is neither possible nor desirable, then how are we to move beyond the culture of monotonous moribund conformity that results from a refusal to challenge or educate?
I love the way Mark uses the trivial detritus of society to cut to the sickness at its core. Of course, being a Marxist, he identifies this sickness predictably.
This, combined with the pro-Capitalism-in-miniature musings of my previous post (combined aslo aslo wik my ongoing rereading of The Aeneid against Vergil), is leading me to think that Capital is like fire. Properly tended and controlled it can be a valuable tool, but set free it does nothing but destroy. Neoliberalism is the idea that Capital always knows best (where, as American TV viewers know, Father used to).
Neoliberalism is like a serial arsonist in a tuxedo.
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