capitalist realism

Cobain knew that he was just another piece of spectacle, that nothing runs better on MTV than a protest against MTV; knew that his every move was a cliche scripted in advance, knew that even realizing it is a cliche. The impasse that paralyzed Cobain is precisely the one that Jameson described: like postmodern culture in general, Cobain found himself in 'a world in which stylistic innovation is no longer possible, [where] all that is left is to imitate dead styles, to speak through the masks and with the voices of the styles in the imaginary museum'. Here, even success meant failure, since to succeed would only mean that you were the new meat on which the system could feed.

by any means necessary

i've always wanted to do a nice write-up of a work that went a long ways towards helping me get past some of the usual self-destructive habits that tend to follow anyone who begins examining themselves, society, and the relationship between the two - and arrives as the difficult-to-escape conclusion that the one variable at the heart of many an ill seems to be our socioeconomic foundation: capitalism itself.

unfortunately there's alot keeping me from doing that - starting with my self-doubt on whether or not i even truly understand the work well enough to summarize it and discuss it in earnest, and complicated all the more by the limited free time at my disposal.

regardless, i feel like at a minimum it would be useful to share the work itself, because it's a great read and revisiting it every so often seems to reveal another layer or idea that might have been outside the focus of an earlier reading, illuminated due to the new context in which it is read.

aside from that, hosting it here has another purpose: unfortunately there's alot of folks who will not give any weight to a link when the URL is from something like libcom or marxists.org. hopefully those stumbling across the page might find having an alternative source to be useful when looking to share this with someone who still might not understand their very revulsion of a particular url is worth examining.


you can either grab the pdf by following the "go to text" link in the citation at the top of the page, or grab it here at this link: https://ha.zardo.us/file/capitalist-realism.pdf