Home Pop Culture Pump and Dump: the Society of the Spectacle.

Pump and Dump: the Society of the Spectacle.

Famed philosopher Guy Debord wrote on the Society of the Spectacle, the point at which meaning falls victim to bullshit. It is, in simpler terms, all pomp without circumstance. In this world, the symbolism of an object, the theatre of the item, is dominant to its actual purpose or meaning. Consider the example of Christmas, which is, currently, far more about hung stockings and dramatic representations of a chilled, hiritstute obese slave-driver then about the any religious purpose. One can only wonder what Mr. Debord might have to say, then, about the internet and the various methods for meaningless expressions that it introduces.

Follow me now.

Attempting to live up to the towering journalistic standards of this magazine, I began researching this article naked, drunk, and using a laptop that had been… um liberated from a neighbor’s unlocked apartment. Said neighbor is currently blowing my roommate. Said roommate’s girlfriend is on a date with a married ex-boyfriend of hers from her High School. All this I deduced using my probing investigatory journalism techniques during a time of while I was…um…liberating her computer. Believe it or not, her password is cocainekitty. Viva la electronica!

As the entirety of the Library of Congress’s book collection is now online, it seems justified that all other media in similar format is equal to the same level of credibility. As such, sites as formerly despised as www.drunkenstepfather.com, www.textsfromlastnight.com and www.wwtdd.com are now tantamount to Shakespeare, Chaucer, Debord, Woodward, Bernstein and Deep Throat. So, it is my privilege and duty to write about them, to relate to them as sources, to create an intense sociological determination based on their inflated numbers of daily hit counts. It is not, however, in my job description to describe these sites to you. So…pick up a friend’s computer and start surfing.

What I have super-sleuthed out of this pus-filled electronic hole of personal debasement and barely concealed pedophilic rape fantasies, (if that doesn’t make you wanna jump on the old T-1 express to these sites, I don’t know what does) is that we are all way more fucked up then we give ourselves credit for. What the beat poets started as a sense of self-literalism and personal honesty has devolved with our standards into a race to the most base and discouraging within our nature.

I have thought many times to write about reality t.v. shows and, like so many cultural critics before me, declare them as modern day gladiator spectacles where we pleasure ourselves by watching the destruction of another. These shows were voyeuristic orgies, full of the intelligent watching the trivails of others from a distant remove. Reality t.v. was intended to make us feel better about ourselves by allowing those below us to debase themselves for our amusement and self-justification.

But, something is terribly amiss when these shows increase exponentially each season with no effort to find willing participants. The Beat Poets spoke about themselves as examples for the greater good. They provided the meaning that Guy Debord was searching for. These revelations were raw, honest, sometimes faulty, but always indicated a striving upwards. And, they were made by writers, artists and others wit a purpose. Today, those that bare themselves do so for less noble reasons. And, as describd by the continued advance of reality programming, with far more frequency.

At a certain point, the line that divides audience and performer grows too thin to be of import. Nowhere is that line more anorexic then on the websites mentioned above. All of them, and countless others, create a community of ne’er do wells, thugs and perverts who share their perversions with the world at large. Most notably, Texts from Last Night is a constantly updated recounting of drug and alcohol-fueled misbhehavior. The site is basically open-sourced petty criminal activity. At once, we are all audience and participant and none of us artistic with ourselves or our revelations.

Guy Debord would consider this an amalgamation of Society and Spectacle. We are living the moment when meaningless laps itself to create another, far sadder, truth. The truth is, that our society is very much participatory in its own rapid degradation.



  1. Dubord would be sickened to know that he is being referenced in this lame excuse for writing. Plus I am disheartened that Scallywag condones what is in most states considered Grand Theft. Craig you are looser.

    Grand Theft Definition

    Grand theft is the crime of taking someone else’s property against their will with the intent of permanently depriving them of the property.

    In order to be considered grand theft, the total value of what was taken must exceed a certain dollar amount. The value of the property stolen to constitute the crime as grand theft varies by locale and other specifics.

    The term “property” in the grand theft definition can include money, labor, real, or personal property that lawfully belongs to another individual or group of individuals.

    Grand Theft vs. Petty Theft

    When the value of the stolen property does not exceed the specified dollar amount, the crime is considered petty theft. The law in all jurisdictions draws a legal distinction between petty and grand theft.

    In most cases, petty theft is a misdemeanor crime that is punishable by no more than one year of incarceration and a maximum fine.

    Most states consider grand theft a felony crime that carries the possibility of a much harsher penalty. The specific punishment for the felony crime of grand theft will often depend on the applicable state laws and the type of theft that took place.

    Degrees of Grand Theft

    Many jurisdictions classify grand theft crimes by degrees which indicate the severity of the criminal act. The degree of grand theft is often predicated by the value amount of the property that was stolen.

    For example, in a given jurisdiction a fourth degree grand theft charge may involve a total $1,000 value of stolen property, whereas a first degree grand theft may involve stolen property valued at $10,000 or more.

    The value amount that is associated with each degree, or level of offense, is determined by state and local law and can vary significantly by location.

    Examples of Grand Theft

    There are many acts which can be considered grand theft. They include:

    * Shoplifting – defined as taking property, goods, or services from a place of business – can be considered grand theft if the value of the stolen goods exceeds the specified dollar amount.

    * Vehicle theft is also considered grand theft as the value of most motor vehicles exceeds the value limit ascribed to petty theft.

    * The taking of a firearm is considered grand theft and may be punishable by harsher penalties than grand theft of other goods similarly valued. The laws for grand theft of a firearm are often harsher due to the type of property stolen rather than the value of the property.

    Grand Theft on the Rise

    There are a few types of grand theft that have been on the rise in the United States. Credit card fraud, internet fraud, identity theft and the like are all white collar crimes for which an offender may be charged with grand theft.

    It is estimated that 25 million Americans become the victims of consumer fraud, often considered a grand theft offense, each year.

    When a person is charged with grand theft involving white collar fraud, they often face the same penalties as individuals charged with grand theft crimes involving tangibles like motor vehicles or merchandise from a business.

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