I feel so dirty.

Doug Henwood dhenwood at panix.com
Thu Dec 31 08:21:01 PST 1998

d-m-c at worldnet.att.net wrote:

>At 11:30 PM 12/30/1998 -0500, you wrote:
>>I must confess to you, my respected friends. I was seduced by that bitch,
>>Martha Stewart, in a K-mart tonight. She lured me there with promises of
>>really cheap, and pretty tasty lace, but once there, well I surrendered to
>>base desire.
>>I'm so ashamed. And I've yet to pay.
>This is why you really must read Judy on the production of desire.
>Oh Paula. I know the feeling, well I'm anticipating knowing the feeling.
>I'm moving to a brand spanking new place and in my hot little hands I have
>a sum of money to spend on new furniture (well new used furniture) and Home
>Decor since I sold nearly everything I own save for book shelves, filing
>cabinets and an old victrola that I refinished. I'm excited and scared all
>in one contradictory bundle of confusion, shame, desire.

Barbara Ehrenreich used to have a very convincing rap that the usual left line about the desire to consume was horribly moralizing and austere and missed the pleasurable aspects of buying stuff. I'm not sure how far I'd go with this - there's certainly an aspect of consumerism that involves an inevitably dissatisfying displacement of the desire for social contact onto the acquisition of things, but on the other hand, there's something inevitably dissatisfying about the fulfilment of any desire. There's no satistfaction in satisfaction, as Freud said. But I can't imagine left politics ever being popular if it remains so drenched in the hair-shirt ethic of the Adbuster/voluntary simplicity crowd.


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