Rafael mentioned the possibility of extending the consumerist message I
was placing in the prison outside prison communities, in particular third
world (sorry abou the term) communities. I think this is interesting--but
I want to be careful not just to talk about the problems of the media
and consumerism, but the ways this combines with types of surveillance,
self-governing in less reflective sense than that of care of the self, and
the creation of activities which are labeled criminal rather than allowed.
We might think about the riots in Paris a few years back, the LA riots, the
although not criminal --probnably because it is a white middle class activity--
at least problematic compuslsion to go into enormous amounts of debt. In
countries outside of the US and Europe, Michael Moore's show TV Nation had
a horrifying report about Avon in the Amazon basin--women spending a month's
pay on face cream, the sellers really believing that Avon products will
transform them into Cindy Crawford etc.

Self sureveillance of course comes in because advertising instructs us to
look at ourselves and compare ourselves to others, finding those inadequacies
and failures at the root of our loneliness and unhappiness. It leads to a
preoccupation with the self which is not a way of caring for it, but a way of
disciplining it, increasing its guilt, prodding it to shame and embarrassment,
but, interestingly, making the self always at the center of a web of feelings
and excitements and desires. A web which might not have been there before.

Jodi Dean

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