Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The Commoditization Of Desire

Morning weigh-in: 180#, 12% BF

I've been on a nostalgia kick for the past year or so, listening to the punk (or post-punk, or punkish) songs I heard on WPRB back in the 80's. It's funny how true those songs sound today, almost like prophecy, and how little I "got" some of them back then...

The CD for the ride in this morning was a Rhino Records compilation of the Gang of Four. One thing I picked up on recently is that a lot of these bands had a thematic schtick: the Dead Kennedys, for example, seem obsessed with WMD's, class war, and genocide; while the Gang of Four focused on, say, the Thatcher era's economic enthusiasms, market forces as instruments of control, and the commoditization of sexuality to allow market forces to act upon it.

("The commoditization of desire" is a phrase I cribbed from Mark Leyner's My Cousin, My Gastroenterologist, which came out about the same time as these bands, maybe a little later. Some little kid is giving a "what I did last summer" presentation about a trip across the Midwest on I-80, when his brain locks up and all he can do is stutter "corn -- corn -- corn -- corn -- Stukey's... corn -- corn -- corn -- corn -- Stukey's..." over and over.

His parents take him to doctors, speech pathologists etc to no avail, until at one doctor's office some communication passes between the kid and a cockroach on the wall, and he begins to speak: "Well, yes, with respect to the Interstate. Whereas prostitution constitutes the commoditization of desire, the tollbooth exchange constitutes the eroticization of commoditized mobility..." blah blah blah, guess you had to be there and it really wasn't an important part of the story, but the phrase "commoditization of desire" stuck with me.)

Anyway, back to my story. To be continued...

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