Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Society of The Spectacle

Cash in the Attic, Cash Cowboys, Porn Stars, Auction Kings, American Pickers, Dickinson's Real Deal, and of course the original Antiques Roadshow; all TV programs that have come to dominate daytime TV scheduling in the UK over very short period of time, about the same time it has taken for Cash Converters and it's myriad of variants to take over the High Street. They all share something in common, they are turning everything in to money, but there is one show I notice that does it without any effort at all. Wheeler Dealers, the show that does up cars, with cheeky chappy Mike Brewer on the road and the enthusiast (he's not mentioned on the homepage- he really isn't) in the workshop, details all costs but those of labour. Labour, production, craft, expertise, effort, pain, risk, balls, all of those qualities you need to produce anything of value, dissolve in a cloud of celebrity, and the labour is made invisible.
Amazing, couldn't make it up- I'm sure many of us would like to think labour costs might disappear, since everything else seems as cheap as chips, but it seems that on television, it happens magically, simply because it is deemed that just being on television is the replacement reward (renumerated appropriately of course, but crucially invisibly) being on TV has surplanted the value of doing the thing itself, the Spectacle has indeed taken over. Guy Debord should have waited a bit longer before topping himself so he could watch himself come true on television in the afternoons. The Society of the Spectacle, it's right here on Wheeler Dealers!
If labour had really disappeared I'd have a shit kitchen that looked good on TV, but when I look at it now what I see is the reality behind those lovely finishes; pain, sweat and swearing.

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