Monday, March 16, 2015

I would like to discuss Chapter 1 from Wark. She describes how society contains a set of images that are created by the media and retail companies that eventually become necessities. These items are usually goods that are not necessary for survival, such as a designer handbag, or celebrity images, which cause us to think that we should look like these celebrities. When images of designer handbags are shoved in our faces, we begin to think it is necessary to obtain one ourselves. The issue I have with this is that Wark assumes we are all passive. To respond to that issue, do you agree that most consumers are passive? Do we really let these images control our lives?


  1. I think you bring to light a great marketing ploy. They know through social media, people slowly normalize what they see repeatedly or on ads as the "norm." The new widespread ability to show images allows for the companies to make more income through being able to spread their image to a larger population, making it seem more normal as it pops up everywhere (facebook, twitter, etc.)
    I found Wark's passive-consumer idea to be somewhat true, but also far from factual for everyone or even a mass-grouping. I think that there are many consumers who are active in deciding what is "normal," and what is just idealized for producers to trick people into thinking they "need" something. A lot of consumers, who do not educate themself on the use of social media are passive however. I do not think many people let these images control their lives, but it draws to a larger context of "image," which I think the average person does let direct their life to some extent. It is all about how we are perceived and what we want people to see within us. LIke Wark talked about in Ch. 1, we are able to - through social media - portray ourselves however we want. Nerds can act as if they are the jocks for example (cliche but a good black/white example.) Others can seem like total activists when really they go through life never giving their opinion about anything, which shows the use of media in freedom of expression.

    1. I have to agree that Wark does not give consumers enough credit in this department. I think that the issue is not that consumers are passive necessarily, but rather, they are given the illusion that they are active, informed consumers, when in reality, all of the information that they are given is controlled by companies. For example, a person who might want to boycott Axe body products because they feel that their advertising campaign objectifies women might choose to buy Dove body products because they have a more female-oriented, body-positive image. What the consumer may not know is that Axe and Dove are both owned by the same company (Unilever). Despite the consumer's good intentions and attempts to be informed, the money still goes in Unilever's pocket at the end of the day.

      I think with the rise of the Internet, consumers are becoming more and more aware of company practices, who owns what, and so on, but the illusion of consumer power where there is none is still present.

  2. Erin makes an awesome point. We like to think that we are in control of our purchases and our choices, but so much information is obscured from us that its almost impossible to make an informed decision. In regards to Josh's original post- the way the spectacle manufactures desires is much more subtle than designer handbags. Additionally, its much more complex than just the images presented by the media and retail companies. The diffuse spectacle was more about the images presented by these recognizable salesmen, but the integrated and disintegrating spectacle present images and infect us with desires whose sources are not as obvious.
    Most desired are externally imposed- and not just desires of what objects we want to buy. I definitely think most people are that passive and don't exactly understand why they desire something.


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