Thursday, August 04, 2005

Marx, Commodity Fetishism, Jello, CAFTA, Exams

Images that pop into my head while I study for my comp exams which are, god help me, this Saturday. More Marx for Dummies
Can you imagine my surprise when I came across the phrase “commodity fetishism” in Marx’s work? Images of leather clad individuals flooded in my dreams. Whips and spiked high heals with lime green Jell-O. All commodities and all, when placed together in the correct context, fetishes. “No he didn’t!” I thought, giggling to myself. Yes, a 38 year old woman basically enacting the Beavis and Butthead syndrome. “Hehehe, he said fetish! Hehehe, lime Jello. ‘Leathhhhhhhhher’” (For the last word I throw in a little Homer Simpson just for good measure). Was I far off in my little “school girl” fantasy about Marx?—“she said school girl fantasy.” Was Marx about to say something well . . . . unseemly? --- “hehehe, she said school girl fantasy.” Well, before we go there; let’s just do a bit of naming: The Leather outfit is now christened “Mr. Rough Bottom.” The spiked high heals shoes shall me named: “Barbara.” The Green Jell-O will bare the name of “Brad.” Now, we have commodity fetishism! That’s right, there is something unseemly in the concept, just not sexual. “hehe she said sexual . . .” Marx noticed that in the capitalist mode of economics that, because of, the focus of commodities and exchange of commodities, people developed relationships with the “things” (commodities). These relationships take on the illusion of relationships between real people. Where it used to be that I could go to my mother for comfort and reassurance, I now go to my car or on a shopping spree for that comfort. Things become real and what is even more unseemly about this process is that it all seems natural! Like it should be natural for me to find comfort in “Brad” the green Jell-O. Things become personalized and I gain part of my identity through the things I own, at the same time, people become depersonalized. The process of “commodity fetishism” works, finally, to hide the ways in which capitalism reproduces itself (even the theory is being personalized, as if it can have children) by using a “terministic screen” of ideology. Ideology works as a type of “false consciousness” which redirections our attention from the real issues at hand. For example, the current administration linked CAFTA to the “war on terror” in order to sell the Central American Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement to the American public. By linking CAFTA to issues such as terrorism and the spread of democracy, the administration is using the ideology behind democracy and nationality (united we stand) to divert our attention away from the fact that in reality CAFTA is nothing more than an agreement struck in order to spread capitalist practices to places where the labor and natural resources are currently cheaper for production. So, there is something unseemly in “commodity fetishism.” With that said, excuse me while I speak with Mr. Rough Bottom, Barbara and Brad about our plans later this evening. “hehehehe she said . . . . implied . . . . damn, I don’t know.” --a booga booga

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