We are kids amid this capitalism


Perhaps it is our non-dilemma that we are saturated with mostly feel-good images in today’s “infantile capitalism,” this term tenably employed by Jameson in his reversal of the usual tracing of the capitalist system into three stages (early, mature and late or advanced). Since most of us have “been born into it, takes it for granted and has never known anything else… the friction, the resistance effort of earlier moments having given way to the free play of automation and the malleable fungibility of multiple consumer publics and markets (Jameson 1991, 367),” Jameson’s term rightly corresponds to our generation’s lack of knowledge and awareness of the historical configurations that gave birth to our present.

On the one hand, this is a non-dilemma. That is ‘Ignorance is bliss’ operating on an unprecedentedly shameless and very public way that there is no longer a need to resort to overt slyness. On the other, we can always argue that our being engulfed in this ‘infantile capitalism’ punctures us more strikingly precisely because of this same ignorance, this same lack of awareness of the intricacies of our surroundings. We do not know the implications of buying the Nike logo more than the actual shoes; we do not know the subtleties of thievery in bank deposits and interest rates; we do now know who that guy named Che Guevara we often see in T-shirts and what are the things that he has done; we do not know why men in briefs in magazine covers are scarce compared to their ‘female’ versions.

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Aimless wandering, Hundred Islands, Pangasinan
Aimless wandering, Hundred Islands, Pangasinan

Our kind of play as ‘infants’ in this ironically advanced stage of capital is one that has been mostly prearranged and even reinforced by those who thrive in this makeup. The play we make in Farmville, in our monthly mall splurging, in our bar-hoppings and video-renting is a far-cry from the more essential childhood play of sheer preoccupation with fondling little toys or running in the streets. It was also Jameson who argued that this literal child’s play has by far been the most effective in bridging the gap between work and freedom; a gap that has become more and more agonizing in today’s world where seldom is the case when work is tantamount to offering as a sense of freedom, much more a sense of joy or fulfillment.

Is this fatalism once again and the preparation for the sudden eruption of the luminescent salvation that is called socialism? Somewhat yes but finally no. This is, as what all words are ideally to be taken as, an opening of a discourse, an effort to create a rupture in the current scheme of things. We are all infants and this system toys on us to protect the gluttony of a few. They seem to be feeding well on us; it is always opportune to spoil ourselves, to make ourselves spoiled. This gluttony needs to stop.

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6 Comments

  1. Nice point, but I’m confused. As a writing teacher, I feel like there’s a conflict between the content and the language. Makes me wonder who your intended audience is… If it’s for the masses, shouldn’t the medium (language included) be adjusted to accommodate the idiom? And if it’s for the, for lack of a better term, “intelligent” readers, don’t you think you’re underestimating their cognizance by insinuating that, in general, people are ignorant of their society?

    P.S. How are you, friend?

    1. Hi ayesah! Hello. Haha, good to see you here, man. I am doing good, sa Baguio pa rin. 🙂
      Re: your comment: i think we have to consider that i am doing this writing ‘online,’ one of the favorite venues for engagement of this generation. And my blog have followers and wordpress’s ‘publicize’ feature shares ,my posts in sites likes facebook and yahoomail. So: the question of audience is mainly answered by these configurations.

      Re: underestimation. I think that is not exactly unlikely to be impressed. But I do not intend to consciously underestimate my readers; I seek engagement. And preliminary comments like this should disprove the ‘ignorance’ ‘implied’ in the post. Hehe.

      So hello, best teacher (saw that photo of your certificate on Facebook)!

      1. Touché. I’m sure you didn’t intend to underestimate your readers. But we have to be careful about the words we choose. Sometimes, what we intend to imply and how we are perceived can be very different. And since the patrons of the medium you chose can be somewhat impressionable, we have to be more watchful.

        As for the best teacher thing, I think that was a fluke hahah… Talagang mahal mo na ang Baguio ah, di mo na iniwan. :)) What’s new with you?

  2. Yep, verily noted. Pero, is not that the real point of language, that it is not transparent and that contradictions always arise between intention and perception, motives and moods of sender and receiver, not to mention the variety of noises surrounding the communication process? And at this point, what matters is continual engagement lest mag-away-away na lang tayong lahat. 🙂

    You always say your successes are fluke. I remember you saying that on your Youngblood selection as well. At ako ay nasa Baguio, doing MALL, and detesting malls sometimes and doing poetry. Yey!

    1. That’s very true. But as a writer, we should be actively conscious of this fact and avoid chaos/clashes/disputes in as much as we can. Unless, of course, that is your intention, then throw caution in the wind and fire away! :p

      I consider these “successes” as flukes kasi I really, honestly didn’t except them. Not to brag, but I really didn’t wilfully try to win an award or any sort of recognition. But they happen. So, fluke. Hehe. NagmoMALL ka rin pala? How is it? I’m also taking graduate studies.. pero hindi masters. What do you mean doing poetry? Publishing?

      1. I think i would just have to say that i sort of intended that, to do away with feigning coherence and tacitly encourage the clashes and disputes.

        Yoohoo “successes,” so kumusta, teaching there? Private school secondary? Tama ba? At anong inaaral mo?

        MALL is good, sort of. Excited to be Sir del’s student again in the theory class next sem after mamiss ko sya sa Cultural Criticism last sem, si Mam Ruth ang nagbigay. And I am doing poetry in the streets, sort of. If you want good stuff out of Facebook, you can check our Facebook page, Pedantic Pedestrians. Hehe.

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