Celebricities: Media Culture and the Phenomenology of Gadget Commodity Life

Celebricities: Media Culture and the Phenomenology of Gadget Commodity Life

Celebricities: Media Culture and the Phenomenology of Gadget Commodity Life

Celebricities: Media Culture and the Phenomenology of Gadget Commodity Life

Synopsis

What becomes of life, experience, and truth in the hyperconsumeristic culture of the twenty-first century? What happens to the phenomenological call to go "back to the things themselves" when these things, to an ever greater degree, involve a televised life that is not ours to live, celebrities who are utterly like us yet infinitely untouchable, and uncannily pluripotent electronic gadgets? Combining sustained philosophical inquiry with fragmentary and experimental theoretical interventions, Anthony Curtis Adler rethinks Marxist materialism and the Heideggerian project in terms of the singular experiences of late capitalism. In doing so, he reveals how the disarticulation of life via the commodity fetish demands at once a new notion of phenomenological method and an ontology oriented toward the radical contingency of being itself as transcendental ground.

Excerpt

Friedrich Schelling once wrote, “Just as walking [is] a constantly hindered falling, so life [is] a constantly hindered extinguishing of the process of life.” It is hardly surprising that this elementary truth of walking and of life escapes us in our everyday lives, even though we are born incapable of the very form of mobility that will distinguish us from other mammals. But eventually we overcome our impedency no less than our infancy. At first blessed with neither a stride nor a voice, we become walking, speaking animals. We no longer give a second thought to the daring act by which we shift our weight from one foot to another, falling away from stable ground with each step; falling into the abyss; almost beyond the point of no return; and yet somehow hindered, impeded, held back … And it all happens so quickly, so heedlessly and unthinkingly, that this effortless grace, from which all the grace of dance is born, seems as nothing.

If walking on two feet is perhaps the least of our human accomplishments, it is thinking, so the philosophers have always reminded us, that is our greatest. Yet thinking is in the end nothing but an intensification—a potentiation, as Schelling himself might say—of living and walking. Thinking also has its stride and its gait, its grace and elegance and flow, and its faults and faltering and clumsiness. And we might add, almost categorically: the unthought in thinking, thinking’s own unthinking, is the necessity by which each step itself falls into the abyss—and by which it recovers. Pedantry, at once the antagonist and complement of thinking, is perhaps nothing else than the insistence that, so . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.