Tag Archives: love

Love and Consumer Culture

We cannot talk about sex and love without considering consumer culture. The explosion in the circulation of things since the industrial revolution, and especially over the last decade has made everything a target for consumption. Humans are no exception and we consume each other as products (saying to ourselves, as we are taught by the mass media, that it is “love”). But in fact we care much less about each other because we do not have the time or inclination.

Remember that the Romantic movement came with the industrial revolution. It was both an attempt to escape from the horror of what Walter Benjamin called “the age of mechanical reproduction” resulting from the industrial revolution and the “great transformation” remaking human society and also a product thereof. Ironically many efforts to find something human and natural that gives shelter from a world gone mad with consumption are themselves products of that trend. Starbucks is the perfect example. A cozy space that seems more human, more natural, closer to a world we wish existed. But Starbucks, or the I Phone are as much a product of that ruthless mechanical reproduction (and now mechanical consumption) as anything.

I have not seen much discussion of the linkage of the various disturbing trends in our society, in our politics, to the rate of technological change. But I would argue that if we cannot see that link, we cannot see anything at all.