We all like to stand on the corpses of giants; it 
makes us seem taller, but one should note, that 
it makes the footing mushy. A superficial 
attachment of the historical limits of the 
situationists to a particular set of technologies 
or their social configurations is very old and 
very tired news, nor is it particularly accurate. 
The same condition of pseudo-agency, which the 
situationists described as "the spectacle"-once 
again: not a collection of images but a 
relationship among people mediated by images-can 
be seen to reign in the inter-passivity of the 
internet. What once reigned in the corridors of 
domestic architecture devoted to worshipping 
television, now reigns on the screens of laptops 
in Starbuckstm worldwide. The commodity form 
still reigns, but it reigns as information. Its 
masters may have become more shadowy, but they 
exist. What's the difference between banks of 
films, tapes, and servers?

Youtube has, in fact, become yet another 
parasitic distribution medium for the materials 
of the spectacle, the way tv became a 
distribution medium for cinema; Youtube is now a 
distribution medium for tv.

There is "revolutionary" potential in the "new 
media"--it should never be referred to without 
quotation marks-, lest it be "naturalized" i.e. 
"reified"--remains. It was there in the "old 
media," but not in its dna, in its social use. It 
was just more difficult of access. And if you 
made something, the community of individuals who 
would see it, would likely be small as your work 
would get lost amidst the noise of the 

While there is interest in the fact that your 
postage stamp sized video may be seen by hundreds 
of thousands, it will still be accompanied by the 
ads in which google or youtube embeds your 
material; like those "embedded" "journalists," 
who became "infected" by the spirit of the 
"mission." You remain part of the spectacle of 
pseudo-agency, just the way you did when you 
bought the star commodities advertised on tv. The 
difference is the more direct appeal to 
narcissism, in order to seduce you into producing 
the visual trappings proper to selling 
products--think of the cost saving to industry. 
The labor of commercial making has simply been 
displaced on to the "users" of Youtube, keeping 
in its familiar place the relationship between 
those who think they are consuming and those who 
are actually consuming them. We are again the 
authors of our own slavery.

The search engines which make it possible for 
others to find your work on Youtube are simply 
the latest attempt of the basic motors of 
capitalism to observe the myth Marx refers to in 
a footnote to the beginning of Kapital: capital 
is predicated on the myth that buyers have an 
encyclopediac knowledge of commodities. Of course 
there is potential for subversion. The way google 
bombing can work, or browser sit-ins, or the way 
the do-it-yourself car ads were subverted for 
statements about the damage done to the 
environment, but the dream of being famous for 15 
minutes--is it still that long, Andy?--is just 
another phantasm of the unconscious of capital. 
Plus ├ža change...

Keith Sanborn

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