POP UTOPIANISM: a manifesto / WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT K-POP: a mix | Occupied Territories

There’s a lot of hand-waving going on here but some interesting ideas relating to pop music and society. I think that there might be a lot of good stuff under the heading “critical theory” that I would like to look into, but my background means that I find it hard to deal with imprecision, obscurantism (deliberate or not) etc.

I sympathise a lot with the below. Thinking about this sort of stuff as I come to the end of university and try to figure out how I should be spending my time.

We must develop a way of thinking about the economy of pleasure, how it is produced and used. Many of us halfheartedly walk around disbelieving in capitalism on an ideological level yet fall prey to its tendency to reduce everything to an economy of profit and production. Our very notion of waste, not just in terms of production but in a more metaphorical sense (e.g. “That’s a waste of my time”), has been inherited by capitalism, and it frustrates our attempts to embrace pleasure. It just might be that pleasure is wasteful, but it is “productively” wasteful, burning off excess dissatisfaction accumulated over the course of our lives under capitalism. We are taught by capitalism that leisure in the form of rest and relaxation, or a vacation, is what we need in order to regain the energy consumed by our work, but a worn-down body can only be revivified through pleasurably productive use (e.g. dancing). We no longer believe that money and profit alone can bring us happiness, but we are still tied to a view of our lives inherited from this ideology. Consider instead what I call the intersubjective economy of being found in indigenous cultures, where gifts are exchanged and food is shared not to reallocate resources but to share our being and presence with one another, producing pleasure and strengthening social bonds. This is most evident in certain customs of gift-giving where the participants largely end up with, more or less, what they started with: the gifts are not as important as the social act of exchange.

Edit 9/v/2013: replaced quotation