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Some Shortcomings of Olympic success

In a house in the London suburb of Ealing, hired for the occasion by a film company, an actor playing the part of an average guy, is checking in a mirror how he looks in his recently bought shirt. Out from behind the mirror steps the winner of the recent Olympic women’s heptathlon who reels off some spiel about a 2% discount. The actor/guy plays gobsmacked that this princess should emerge from behind his mirror, announce some cashback offer then humiliate him over his new shoes.

This video is a moral fable about ordinary people having their personal lives invaded without consent by sport stars, extremely well paid by a bank to announce, in the manner of finely crafted android zombies, some marginal financial benefit these humble punter-gatherers are deemed to be in need of knowing about.

The dreamtime society these repressed tableaux vivants inhabit is infused with an oppressive consumer culture dreamed up by lords of money. These agents of credit are currently desperate to chivvy the plebs into using more of their branded plastic product, expensive short term debt, to buy more stuff.

The sport stars are tasked to perform as exalted enactors of their individual brand power in order to goad the populace into believing they can upgrade their social status and self esteem through the purchase of more and better commodities. None of these demigods of sport, in these videos, look comfortable in these lavishly funded roles. They are all doing payback time for their sponsorship by a bank.

The emotional distances, between the roles they are comfortable with and these performances they are persuaded to enact here, is clearly apparent. Indeed one interesting aspect of these unconvincing performances by non-actors is that their naff quality appears to be intentional. “We know you know”.

This alienation comes as part of the charmless burden of an over-commodified culture. The fact that the central lingua franca of obligations here is maxed-out debt is what sucks the life out of the whole fandangle.

“The spectacle’s estrangement from the acting subject is expressed by the fact that the individual’s gestures are no longer his own: they are the gestures of someone else who represents them to him. The spectator does not feel at home anywhere, because the spectacle is everywhere.”
Guy Debord, 1, 30, Society of the Spectacle, 1967

An analogue for these masks is an interview with David Byrne by David Byrne where he stretches these detachments within performances.

Zombie capitalism is replete with dead men walking.

One way of bringing a zombie culture, congested with devices which relentlessly separate people from their social selves, back towards survival, is for the many who are still alive to nurturing communities, to carry on elsewhere building compassionate cooperatives of any kind that comes in handy. And to continue to do that in opposition to those whose destructive greed for relentless accumulation by dispossession lays waste to everybody’s best long term interests.


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