the sign object is neither given nor exchanged: it is appropriated, withheld and manipulated by individual subjects as a sign, that is, as coded difference. here lies the object of consumption." here too lies the object of fascination: for it is the arbitrary, artificial nature of this code – its fetishistic facticity, not its mythical naturalness – that compels us, controls us. to expose its false nature, to manipulate its differences hardly constitutes resistance, as is commonly believed: it simply means that you are a good player, a good consumer. -baudrillard


some of you (whoever may be reading) might remember me from facebook as a voracious poster, commenter, link maker, and photographer. it is in part due to the intentional deletion of my facebook account that i am reinvigorating my personal website with the content and intention that i once freely bestowed upon the seemingly friendly corporate machine that is facebook. [slideshow] if you are an existing member of facebook, you might find the following tips useful: 1. don’t care. facebook desperately wants you to care. if you ever intend to leave, it will insist that those people closest to you, namely the avatars of people that you once most interacted with via facebook, will miss you. it will also ask people that have tagged you in photos or in posts who you are, and suggest reconnecting with ‘you’, this new mysterious other. in hopes of preventing this, i deleted each friend, each photo, each tag and each bit of information before deleting my account. the cyber version of a master-cleanse. 1a. don’t opine this relates back to not caring. having an opinion works two-fold. it brands you (in a facebook marketing sense) and will change the advertisements that you are shown towards ads more suitable to your stance on __________. further, if you state something that you believe in, be prepared for people to ‘crawl out of the woodwork’ that intend to assail your point of view, and by association, you personally. the false notion of facebook friendship actually belies the disintegration of our social network, not the reclamation of it. facebook is the blanket full of smallpox handed gracefully to a cherokee (or other tribe) person, that at first protects them from the cold, thereby physically destroying them. as facebook shifts language towards acronymizing, it also shifts people’s identities towards avatars. we begin to believe that we have ‘a wall’ (not a home). this wall also operates dually. walls both enclose people within a system, and ostracize them from it. 2. don’t vote facebook isn’t democracy, it’s a plutocracy. it is administered by people who get paid a lot of money to keep people within it. it wastes your time, energy, knowledge and humanity to continue to partake in the ‘news feed’ (pavlovian pellets, rats pressing levers). each vote further confines you within a web of likes that aids in the marketing of your own identity to you. you are what you eat, and if you eat only the news feed of fast food you’ll end up both malnourished AND obese. btw, each vote or ‘like’ posits one further and further down the mineshaft named simulacra. 3. don’t believe if facebook were a church, it would be one of those churches that’s built into a vacant store-front in a strip mall. it is a merging of church and market, superego and id impulses that lead to facebook campaigning for everything from gay marriage to saving the whales. just like a vote within our ‘democracy’ is on some level useless (in that it grants the necessity and validity of the organization counting the votes), petitioning and publicly proselytizing within facebook is as helpful as a bumper sticker. actually, it’s about the same as covering one’s self with bumper stickers like a nascar driver is covered in logos. therein lies the paradox! 4. don’t be private it’s impossible! granted, you can change your settings so that only friends can access your data publicly, but friends of friends of facebook ALWAYS have access to your data. you don’t own your photos, or information, or account just as if you are a property owner you don’t ACTUALLY own the property on which you live (at least in the u.s.) as it’s owned by the government, and property taxes are the lease that you pay for the land (after purchasing the right to pay the taxes). 5. don’t be passive-aggressive. perhaps the most obvious change in becoming an internet based society is the level of passive-aggression that mediates our relationships with others, with our computers and within ourselves. as consumers, we have learned that our voices only matter when they are complaining. language flattens the potential of human expression (especially when utilized in a linear manner), and this makes it much easier to arrive at misunderstandings. take for example this firmly worded letter sent by the father of a friend that i grew up with. in person we have a very light and humor filled relationship…
This note is for you only, not for your wall. “Paul Tyree-Francis still sort of surprised that most here seem to believe that democrats are different than republicans. whoever is in power will still bow to the people, and by people i mean corporations.” Generalizations on any side of the political spectrum are dangerous. Your Mac is made by a corporation. The plane you flew to Germany on was made by, and operated by, corporations. Ditto however you got to/from airport. Your cell phone. The electricity that recharges the phone and computer arguably contribute to global warming. Not all people, politicians, and corporations are bad. No one, nothing is perfect. People who think otherwise should live in a cave and not use any of the benefits of the systems they think are so bad. I am not happy with the election, but we still have freedoms few other countries have. You live in Germany, right? Didn’t the PM or president recently say that there is no room for Muslims there unless they conform to the norms? Then, why are you living there? This note is for you only, not for your wall.
this was my response to him:
i agree with you XXXX, but there’s no need for antagonism. facebook is also a corporation, and i know obviously that the corporate world is by now basically inextricable from daily life, that is obvious. everything you stated is true. if you’re even still reading at all, watch this hakim bey video. he is old/wise and a firebrand, and you probably already know about him anyways. still, we need more of him. he is revolutionary (though sometimes he bullshits, but who doesn’t?). [youtube i3HyRtdu1o0] on his advice i will close my facebook account upon the download of all of my data. and by the way, i don’t have a cell phone. all the best, paul
my favorite line from the song ‘this land is your land’, by woody guthrie, is the line that was redacted from the version of the song that we learned as children (thanks to capitalism/democracy/plutocracy/TPTB):
As I went walking I saw a sign there And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.” But on the other side it didn’t say nothing, That side was made for you and me. Nobody living can ever stop me, As I go walking that freedom highway; Nobody living can ever make me turn back This land was made for you and me. In the squares of the city, In the shadow of a steeple; By the relief office, I’d seen my people. As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking, Is this land made for you and me?