Day 111: Lots of Things to Do, Including Hating Endemol

Dear all,

yes, it has been a while since I wrote something here. I have been insanely busy lately. I did, however, finish my article and will send it out after I am done writing this. I guess I will also quickly proofread it one last time. Thank god that got done in time. I have also been getting things together for my move. I did not really have the time to do any intensive packing, but I did get started on my books. Damn, do I have many books! This is not an attempt to brag. No, it is just that I packed six large boxes of books and I still have about 60-70% of my books on shelves. This is going to be really damn heavy to carry and I am not looking forward to it! I also began to look at clothes etc. You know how you tend to have that t-shirt that is full of holes, but which you have had for a decade or longer and you just cannot part with since you love it so much? Yeah, I have about 200 of those. I am one of those people who find it hard to part with things that have a sentimental value. Bad thing about this is that I quickly attach random items to past memories, hence I sentimentalize things quite easily. I have an old pair of underwear I once got from someone that is so past wearable that it is not even funny, yet I still hang on to it. For crying out loud. (I also have things such as a plastic toy truck someone gave me, a wooden giraffe, a football that doesn’t hold air any more, … — I don’t really look at these things but somehow knowing that they are in boxes somewhere makes me feel better than imagining them starting to hang around with a bad crowd of discarded items at some landfill–yes, these crappy items are my children). I think I really have to sit down, buck up and silently weep for a few hours while I throw away a lot of this stuff. I just won’t have space for it and, quite frankly, I have enough shite to carry. It is going to be a sad day.

In more positive news skunk has returned to Chicago and I will help him relocate to Pilsen this afternoon (from somewhere in Logan Square, I believe)–really need to get my article out before then, so I better hurry.

In this spirit, here just quickly my “I am not even surprised any more” of the day:

Endemol, the Dutch production company that brought us the beauty of things such as Big Brother or Fear Factor (there are so many more terrible examples from European programming people in the US may not even be aware of!) is now producing a show in which a fatally ill woman gets to decide who of the three candidates in the competition will win and receive her donor kidney. Bravo, Endemol! Thing is, I cannot really say that I truly hate Endemol for this. Rather, being edgy (whatever the fuck that means) is just so numbingly regular these days and our perception of it is just so bored and apathetic that I cannot really care. This is just a part of that whole fucked up, apathetic mess that has become our popular culture in which there is no difference left between romance and murder, narratives of social justice and the spectacle of dying people competing for a donor organ. It all feeds into the same careless, barely excited but constantly in need of stimulation heap of trash that are our emotions and convictions within affective labor in the context of consumer capitalism.

It’s sunny and warm today in Chicago.

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8 Comments

  1. Yes, I heard about the show, Endemol seems to be keen on being the one who pushes the limits of what was hitherto considered moral decency. When I first read about BB (an ‘article’ on the cover at Bild! in which it was written that BB would come to Germany and that a women had masturbated in the past installment of the Dutch Big Brother) I thought that that was the ultimate move towards the panopticalization of our lives and – I also though that this would never ever be a success!

    Skunk is coming to Pilsen, what a nice name for a place to stay!

    Regarding those boxes: If you use moving boxes, don’t be as stupid as I was and fill up the boxes with books from bottom to brim. NObody can carry that.

    And since I am going to move soon, too: I probably wore 5% of the clothes I have in the past three years. But I know that it is going to be impossible to throw them away. The day will come that will want to wear just that pale pink sequined knitted armless ‘slipover’ (dict.cc’s suggestion for Pullunder?) with the broken zipper at the back.

  2. the kidney show has been revealed as a hoax:

    http://media.guardian.co.uk/site/story/0,,2093873,00.html

  3. Endemol is profoundly repulsive.

    As a cultural phenomenon the Big Brother comes from that Dutchest of Dutch stereotypes, living in densely populated spaces. Because Dutch houses are so closely together in small spaces, and the huge windows allow you to see everything, the Dutch are quite used to a kind of daily voyeurism. But the really repulsive thing about this is that it is the underlyin Calvinist pragmatism that motivates the acceptance of this awkward situation, rather than any sort of a ”liberalism”. The implied message is that the Dutch will accept anything, really, as long as they can cash in on it. Tolerance, in fact, is really just profound indifference.

  4. Anaj ik heb wat meer contributes aan De Gevallen Sterren verwacht, maar toen verdween jij. Was je gekwetst door Patrick Mullins?

  5. While I agree completely with you on the Calvinist pragmatism point I would like to seperate tolerance from indifference, as tolerance seems to me to be precisely the political logic of (neo)liberalism, i.e. standing in the precise history of Kantian liberalism that is now elevated to a political and moral ideal. It is this suggestion that tolerance contains actual political potential (see also Derrida’s late work) within a neoliberal framework that makes it more than indifference–it becomes an actual political attitude that is thought to contain agency. Pragmatically speaking, I would be less worried if toleration would indeed function as merely an expression of indifference–that is a much easier thing to combat than the de-politicizing effect of neoliberalism’s pseudo-politics.

  6. me to be precisely the political logic of (neo)liberalism, i.e. standing in the precise history of Kantian liberalism that is now elevated to a political and moral ideal.

    I think that’s exactly what I wanted to say, and the system was perfected in Holland before it was exported to the US.

  7. Yep. That makes total sense. After all, capitalism is practically a Dutch invention (first stock-trading system, at least). But, and I forgot to ask this earler, are Endemol’s products really indicative of a general social trend in relatin to consumer capitalism in the Netherlands (it sounds pretty scary the way you describe it–but then again, that is true for most capitalist countries–the US is just more hypocritical about it than most Europan countries–at least as far as I can tell by making reference to the German situation–the result, however, is mostly the same).

  8. @parodycenter: Nee, helemaal niet gekwetst, ik vond het alleen niet zo boeiend met hem te zitten worstelen. Momenteel zit het zo dat het al een beetje geleden is dat ik me op en dahelijkse basis bezig gehouden heb met de micropolitiek van stardom – en ookal was ik zeker dat veel van wat hij schreef een complete rotzooi was, ben ik momenteel niet in staat op hem dit nauwkeurig (en mauwkeurig moet het wel zijn voor hem) te wijzen – en dan ook niet daarin geinteresseerd, ik kan zijn rotzooi ook alleen lezen en denken ‘wat een onangename kerel’ en hem kerel laten zijn:-)

    Maar het klopt, gevallen sterren is eigenlijk een van mijn liefste thema’s 🙂


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