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...and other things I just don't "get."

What's remarkable is not how much I complain in this journal. It's how little I complain in this journal. The more the years pile up on the far side of -0, the less I see the point in getting myself bent out of shape about this or that or what the hell ever, and the less I see the point in publicly broadcasting my annoyance. That said, I am now going to complain.

What the fuck's with this weird depersonalization/reductionism going on in America (and elsewhere, I expect), whereby almost anything and everything is described as product (plural and singular). I see someone talking about making cookies on television, and they don't say, "We want to make the best cookie we can." No. They say, "We want to make the best product we can." And that product is not to be sold and eaten by people, or even customers, but by consumers. You see it online, with webzines talking about content, not articles, stories, photographs, etc. I see it in publishing, with everything coming down to a matter of how many units have been moved, rather than how many books have been bought. I'm not even sure precisely why this makes me so angry, except somehow it seems to work to devalue everything and everyone. It all becomes only interchangeable bits, with little or no intrinsic value.

And I do think words matter, and are not to be be swapped about willy-nilly. Sure, shorthand can be convenient, but when it stops being shorthand and becomes common speech, meaning is lost.

Yeah, whatever. I mean, nobody much seems to mind, right?

Meanwhile...

They illuminate the land,
and they make me think of you.
What sunk silently to the depths of a mystery?
A clue that only one scientist knew?

Who knew that the sky is now found to contain
Benzene and methane and chalk,
And bloody mud, muddy blood from the sky,
From the sickly sweet wings of Edith's Checker-Spot Butterfly?
They die in the ocean.
Their legs are broken.
The rain slows their flight as it soaks their wings.

In microphone, we'll listen for thunder.
The telephone will dial a number,
To deliver a, a clearer picture of weird wet weather.
This puts all previous discoveries in doubt.
These are the things we have theories about.

Overhead, two sky titans they collide in slow motion.
Then, over the Ice Tongue, fluid flows.
A one thousand foot thick chunk of sediment is exposed.
Your own special home.

A choking, vapor-laced haze obscured by acid rain,
Enveloping everything, on the edge of the Milky Way.


— Rasputina, "A Retinue of Moons"

Comments

( 12 comments — Have your say! )
velocityb0y
Jul. 13th, 2007 02:28 am (UTC)
In the games industry, you no longer ship a game, you release a title. And if your title doesn't fit into an existing genre that publishers understand in terms of units sold to various demographics (i.e. you take any kind of artistic or gameplay risk) then you are going to have a hell of a time finding a publishing deal.

It's been that way for some years now.
setsuled
Jul. 13th, 2007 09:49 am (UTC)
In the games industry, you no longer ship a game, you release a title. And if your title doesn't fit into an existing genre that publishers understand in terms of units sold to various demographics (i.e. you take any kind of artistic or gameplay risk) then you are going to have a hell of a time finding a publishing deal.

That's really apparent--games are becoming homogenised. I just heard Bethesda's not going to have dialogue influenced by character stats in Fallout 3--it sounds like they're stripping it of everything that was great about Fallout 2. I have this awful feeling they're going to use the tedious colour wheel from Oblivion for character interaction. And I shudder to think how neutered the game will be in terms of sex, violence, and drug content. I hate how extreme violence is more acceptable than sex in games.
mlle_rouge
Jul. 13th, 2007 10:53 am (UTC)
I hate how extreme violence is more acceptable than sex in games.

Not only in games: movies, animated cartoons...
I think it tells a lot about America.
velocityb0y
Jul. 14th, 2007 01:59 am (UTC)
This country was founded by Puritans looking for religious freedom. Couple hundred years later and we still have the legacy.
cucumberseed
Jul. 13th, 2007 08:31 pm (UTC)
I hate how extreme violence is more acceptable than sex in games.

Truly
stardustgirl
Jul. 13th, 2007 02:34 am (UTC)
it seems to work to devalue everything and everyone

Yes. Thank you. You've put into words what it is that bugs the crap out of me about this disturbing trend. It's been around for awhile; I remember cringing at the word "content" when I worked in-house. So bland. So generic. So empty. Such a far cry from the reality of an excited new author who would pour out their knowledge and enthusiasm onto page after page of a book! A nifty cool object they could tote around proudly and show off. They could drag friends into bookstores and point at their creation on a shelf. I'm betting not a one said "check out my product!"

I wonder how many kids say they want to be a content-producer when they grow up?
spiritualmonkey
Jul. 13th, 2007 03:03 am (UTC)
Shop for freedom!
Do you consumerist duty. It's the American Way.

Or else the Commies the terrorists Eastasia somebody bad wins.
whiskeychick
Jul. 13th, 2007 04:18 am (UTC)
"words are important" is my Email signature.

here-here
whiskeychick
Jul. 13th, 2007 04:19 am (UTC)
ooh! and @ my place of business the latest mantra is: don't let the process become the product. /rolls eyes.
mellawyrden
Jul. 13th, 2007 04:25 am (UTC)
it makes me want to scream. I don't know how to talk about it without sounding like an ass, so I'll just go ahead and sound like one. I do feel more & more isolated because so many people are only thinking of their wallet when they think of ANYTHING. So many people in relationships that are based on "who would be a good connection for me", who has a great apartment, they're blatant about it. At university the education is considered "PRODUCT" (administrative persons actually have been heard describing it this way) If a kid doesn't get an A in a class he or she hardly even attended, the parents raise hell, because they paid for the class, their kid needs to get into a good med school... and it's up to the professor to pull an A out of thin air and apply it to their child who was sleeping off hangovers during class time... because the parents are paying the professors' salaries. It isn't just random people and their precious children now & then.. it's practically everyone. And the kids are total assholes about it. Put in your dime, get your product. University has become an automat I guess.

and art.. I'm in the pits lately because of this art situation, art as product, and people look at mine and it isn't entirely likeable by everyone who looks at it, it's confusing probably and people don't want to think about it. It pisses me off that huge portions of the public won't even look at it because it isn't anime schoolgirls or a basket of flowers. The art world is so tied up in trends, not just who are we following but who are we shunning. The artists themselves are making themselves into the product. We're supposed to be seducing people to come and look at our work. I'm supposed to wear a corset and simper all night and shove my boobs in people's faces. Product product product. It's like toxic fumes we're having to find out way through.

rowancat
Jul. 13th, 2007 05:06 am (UTC)
Speaking just to your art here, books are human, units are not.
No matter how many copies are published or sold referring to them
as anything other then the product of of your imagination and craft
is an insult perpetuated by people who can only think in terms of bottom line and have no business judging you in terms better suited
to some sort of machine run factory.
setsuled
Jul. 13th, 2007 07:54 am (UTC)
almost anything and everything is described as product (plural and singular).

It reminds me of Bernstein's line from Citizen Kane; "It's easy to make a lot of money, if all you want to do is make a lot of money." I think it's more than just that people have forgotten the point, but that they're afraid of the point. People are more interested in having swimming pools than they are in jumping into the deep end. Money's becoming a religion--I know that's what that Secret book's really all about; attaining financial nirvana. It's an ideal spiritual goal because it's unattainable.

Rasputina, "A Retinue of Moons"

I got that album last week. It is pretty good. I haven't listened to it much, though, as it somehow got lost among all the things I have packed up right now . . .
( 12 comments — Have your say! )