Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Much of the anti-intellectualism in the "Just do it!" faction of hardcore culture and somewhat left culture just the reverse of consumerism

It seems to replicate the basic American approach to life rather than really challenging it. Don't get me wrong, I like action. Action is great. People need to take possession of their own lives instead of having people tell them what to do and they need to initiate interesting projects without waiting for the powers that be to grant them social permission to do so, and punk rock's general ethos that you in fact can succeed at all of this and make your own life and the life of those around you better is really positive. The problem comes when action is taken as an end in itself with appeals to thought dismissed as being irrelevant. And thought is being dismissed, and has been dismissed, not just classic ivory tower learning but seemingly anything down to the most basic literacy about the world around you. Instead, you just do it, or you're an elitist who's not hardcore enough, and who is probably from a privileged background as well. The truth is that the ethos of 'just do it' without any reflection is a lot like the 'just buy it, don't think about it' of consumer culture. Both are predicated on instant gratification. If you 'just do it' you supposedly get the immediate pay off, while when you 'just buy it' you get a similar thrill. Both encourage the sacrifice of long range insight for short term gain. Both dismiss, at least implicitly, the value of looking deeper into the world for insight. Instead, life is just a series of thrills.

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