Or how this extreme commodification leaves us speechless.
In Marxist political economy, commodification takes place when economic value is assigned to something not previously considered in economic terms; for example, an idea, identity, gender. So commodification refers to the expansion of market trade to previously non-market areas, and to the treatment of things as if they were a tradeable commodity.
I have blogged previously about the commodification of all things human. It has just occured to me that this commodification acts to, indirectly, censor speech. Al least, intelligent, meaningful speech. It stems from the fact that no one touches the big guys that make the moneys. Let me make it clearer with an example. Imagine you are a radical feminist (not so hard to do) and that you magically land a job as a columnist for a popular women’s magazine like Cosmo (a bit harder to do). It’s your column, so you can write whatever you fancy. Or not. Any criticism of the fashion and beauty industries would have to stay out, since that is precisely where Cosmo gets its bucks from. By extension, any reference to the objectification of women, the idea that women are things, and sexual things at that, any condemning of the male gaze, would have to go as well. Let’s see. Happiness is a no-no area too, as Cosmo makes some money out of promising its readers they will be oh so happy if they only followed this handy dandy step-by-step guide included in the magazine which, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, is anything BUT true happiness. Self esteem and true love suffer the same fate. If you dared write anything meaningful about self esteem or true love, the only kind of writing worth doing, it will be tantamount to saying that because of their complexity they cannot be obtained through a simple step-by-step guide, which immediately blows the business away. And Sex! One of the very cornerstones of Cosmo. What on Earth could you posibly say about sex that doesn’t uncover the fallacy that is its commodification, the only vision of sex Cosmo could possibly ever have because its the only one that they can get money from. We are quickly running out of topics here. Cross over consumerism and capitalism, unless you are planning to write condoning them. (YUCK!) Ehmmm. Nature? Again, only if we stay within clearly defined boundaries. Namely, “you can only enjoy nature by going somewhere and spending money, here, we’ll show you how”. The same applies to food and art. Dude, I don’t know you, but I’ve run out of ideas already!
Now it’s easier to see where this is going. The main flaw within the mainstream media: speech is powered by money. Sure, you can think whatever you want, but you can’t actually SAY whatever you want because, sooner or later, you’ll reach the money making wall. And in time, this gets worse and worse because more things are turned into commodities. Things which are re-defined in “money making” terms, which you cannot question because “thou shall not get in the way of the money making”.
In time, we cannot express any ideas. In time, we run out of speech.