Who will deliver us from the unexpected restoration of the reign of beauty and its disreputable ideology, aesthetic philosophy?  In a society in which the near-total commodification of the world, linked with the already looming world market, can be glimpsed, beauty is no longer a momentary relief from ‘interest’ (Kant’s word for business and its rationale) but rather the law of the land. For the existential support of universal commodification, even when we try, as so many have done, to grasp it psychologically, was aestheticization always. One may see it as an addiction, halfway between drugs or pornography and the mania of the pathological collector; but then the only, rather pitiful treatment turns out to be that ‘diet cure of images’ called for by Baudrillard—or in Susan Sontag’s formulation, an ‘ecology’ of images.  An outright ban on advertising might be more effective, acknowledging the role that images and the visual as such play in the epidemic (witness Debord’s attack on the unreality propagated by the ‘spectacle’, which he seems to have conflated with narrative itself).
|Number of pages||105|
|Journal||New Left Review|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 2016|