Thursday, March 04, 2010

desiring machines yadda yadda

In part 3 of her lecture here, Silvia Federici talks about - among other things - the mechanisation of the body in mechanical philosophers and the development of anatomy in the 17th-18th century as a feature of the counter-revolution that was the establishment of capitalism.

These PUAs seem to be an expression of a contemporary mechanisation of the "personality" and the mechnical approach evo-psych takes to the mind which accompanies this stage of capitalism emphasising the discretionary consumption of the majority in the core, fuelling the development of practises of advertising and marketing, and the speculative activity of rentiers and owners of capital, fuelling the development of practises of market manipulation.


  1. Anonymous6:54 PM

    "Women’s brains have more distributed functions than men, especially for language and memory" - This type of generalization and this one in particlar crack me up. If we plugged it into a syllogism, and continued, say 'Shakespeare could write sublime verse and memorize the scripts for plays' then we could infer Shakespeare was a woman. Or is that one of the pseudo-syllogisms. Hell, if 'men' and 'women' are categorized by these features, I suppose we could infer, I'm a woman.

    Chuckie K

  2. Complaisant Person8:11 PM

    that neurological differences between men and women become much less marked.

    Just so neurotic differences remain polarized, as between mine and Chuckie K's, although I don't know if I want to fuck her.

  3. but anodyne, a difference in average is meaningless for what neilsen's clients (advertisers seeking to target audiences using mass media, both traditional and new) want to accomplish. Really gender is a very crude instrument for marketing

    Once again it's going through an old category to get at a new one in a way designed to reinforce the ideology bolstered by the old. (Done with "race" all the time; now it could be "blue states people") If you're interested in "more distributed" then that's the category - men and women are both in it. But marketing is not interested in "more distributed" really, it's interested in the complexly constructed subjects of gender and other socially meaningful codes. Is there a measure of the distribution that counts here, that means something? That point "more than men" is ideological - doesn't help you design ads and products for women (if it were "less than men" it would still be the same distribution in women, thus requiring the same tactics - why stress this difference if not to try to shore up a frayed notion of gender difference in mental and emotional features etc)?

  4. I mean say you are the advertiser who wants to reach chess players. More men then women, yes, but there is no benefit for then seeking men instead of chess players. and there will be higher correllations with chess playing than gender. Rather, introducing gender would involve a loss of precision. The ideological has a magnestism for those seeking to as master through simplification (as traxus put it about the ¨PUAs), but there's no justification.

  5. Oh definitely, I agree, gender is what this kind of insistence on talking about neurological differences is all about when laypeople bring it up. The point is definitely to *create* gender in order to create categories that shore up certain economic inequities that make rich people richer.

    I guess I didn't catch what Chuckie was responding to. Is this part of the lecture?

  6. In other words, what was the context of Chuckie's comment? I wasn't sure.

  7. i assulme chuckie was reacting to the nytimes' take, pretty typical of what they do with such findings...

    "The point is definitely to *create* gender in order to create categories that shore up certain economic inequities that make rich people richer."

    yeah - with advertising there really is a circular thing; traditions of radio and tv advertising meant gender was something you could target - tv was originally a very blunt instrument, with unprecedented reach, but you could refine for women, who were home during the day (or in someone else's home as a domestic) watching soaps. then this gendered addressee of ads is also gender training. its interesting to see that with hipper products and hipper ads its more more subtle and the trend is toward an androgyny of addressee but within a more refined target in other terms.....

  8. Yeah, when I was very young, I remember wondering, why don't they market all products to all people? Don't they want to sell to as many people as possible? Why these stupid beer ads with women portrayed as bimbos? Doesn't that actually damage their brand?

    Usually the "blue chip" brands tend to market to everyone pretty equally and "fairly" if you will (Pepsi, Coca Cola, McDonald's, Geico).

    But then I learned about niche marketing and demographics and it all started to make sense. Not all companies can be everything to everyone, because they don't have the resources. So they pick some realistically small target demo and market directly to them.

    Then there's also that thing where people like having their prejudices and privileges reconfirmed by media.

  9. "Then there's also that thing where people like having their prejudices and privileges reconfirmed by media."

    an important point. many people take some kind of pleasure in the endless rehasing; cliché manufacture like everything else is speeded up too - teenagers spontaneously slot new brand names into old formula.

  10. Anonymous8:24 AM

    Sorry I was absent for the weekend. The point, via the late Stpehen Gould, is that the averagge is a meaningless generlaiztion. A real theory would have to account for the parameters of variation. sort of like the difference between mathematical economics and 'Capital.'

    If we nonethelss wanted to construe the data in terms of identity, the question would be, what do man and women with the same levels of certain abilities have in common and why?

    If you ant to chase this one a little farther, I was once told in all seriousness by a coworker that women know more color terms than men. Historically, color terms have proliferated only in the very recent past. So its historically specific. I know who paint seem to know more color terms than the women I work with. So it seems socially specific too.

    Clearly, putatively genetically determined traits differ substantively from a given subclass of verbal knowledge. But that's the point. You can slot just about any trait into the argument-structure and generate a conclusion.

    Chuckie K