Monthly Archives: September 2011

“…the use value of immaterial commodities cannot be destroyed in consumption in the same way as the use value of material commodities can. A material commodity ultimately becomes worn down, and in the end useless. A sign commodity cannot be destroyed in the act of consumption in the same way. It can only be destroyed or consumed by other signs. This is where fashion as a phenomenon becomes utmost important for the producton of economic surplus value in sign economies. It can therefore be argued that the main purpose of fashion is not to point to novelties, or ‘aesthetic innovation’…. The main purpose is to destroy sign value. At the moment of destruction, with the attack of the new sign commodity on the old through release of next years’ fashion (next pop music icon, the next film star), last year’s creations become realised, and we enter a new circuit. Furthermore, the destruction by fashion of the sign value in the consumption process is not by the hand of consumers, but by producers (thus making it productive consumption). The destruction of value becomes an effect of the system, which then becomes self-generating. What we face with the advent of fashion is the self-sufficient system; fashion as auto-consumption. We are faced with signs consuming other signs.” (p. 301)

Göran Bolin, “Notes From Inside the Factory: The Production and Consumption of Signs and Sign Value in Media Industries” SOCIAL SEMIOTICS 15.3 (2005): 289-306.

“Films are at the semiotic apex of screen production, because they have the greatest symbolic power and aesthetic legitimacy. But for some time now they have basically been commercials rather than ends in themselves…. And TV is becoming a commercial in the same way as cinema. Someone I know expects that the TV dramas he produces–for USA and ABC Family–will make money not through syndication, but downloads. One of his series is currently downloaded 50,000 times a week for podcasting.” (3-4)


“So what will Hollywood look like in 2010? The 2001 recession hit the culture industries hard, not least because Republican Party financiers transferred money away from Silicon Valley/Alley and Hollywood, and toward manufacutring and defense, as punishments and rewards for these industries’ respective attitudes during the 2000 election and subsequent coup. Wall Street investors fled the cultural sector, because 66 per cent of its campaign contributions had gone to Al Gore Minor. Energy, tobacco and military contractors, 80 per cent of whose campaign contributions had gone to George Bush Minor, suddenly received unparalleled transfers of confidence. This dramatic shift aligned finance capital with the new Administration–a victory for oil, cigarettes, and guns over celluloid, CDs, and wires. The former saw their market value rise by an average of 80 per cent in a year, while the latter declined by 12 to 80 per cent. Then the post-September 11 re-militarization of everyday life saw Hollywood and the Silicon Valley and Alley sites show their loyalty–to Wall Street and the Presidency alike.

“Hollywood has a long history of working with Washington…; it has a long history of working with Silicon Valley high-technology projects brokered by the military industries…; and it has a long history of responding to technological change by adding new developments to its oligopoly. There is every reason to think the same will happen with the digital fallout, albeit with massive stress, and many, many people suffering as a consequence. Hollywood 2010 will look different from Hollywood right now, but it will still be Hollywood.” (4)

Toby Miller, “Global Hollywood 2010”

“….Not taking anything away from Mr. Burn’ (sic) work but the invisibility of Ms. Novick is just not acceptable, especially because the film is hers too.

“But the point is even if they are partners Mr. Burns wanted to make clear that he is the brand and the name and that some partners are just, well, a little bit better.

“‘While some partners are more equal than others — i.e., and I think she would agree with this, I have the final creative say if there were a disagreement’ (sic)

“You are either a partner and an equal or you are not.  Think about that logic.  Think about how you could explain that to your teenager.  Please.  I find that comment so condescending.”

Melissa Silverstein on the in/visibility of Ken Burns’ production partner Lynn Novick in WOMEN AND HOLLYWOOD

“…’becoming American’ can be said to involve an epistemology of the body; privileged body types function as connotative codes that structure a cultural order. ‘Americanness’ is frequently reified through deployment of what Amy Kaplan refers to as ‘the ‘look’ that United States media and advertising industries disseminate as some kind of ideal toward which all people living in America and counted as American must aspire’ (1997, xx)…. This binary relationship between body types helps to structure and define the ‘all-American’ self against its others. While this coding process is polysemic in that it engages diverse discourses, it nevertheless functions within a hierarchy of values that relegates certain bodies to prominence and others to relative status….”


“Is the East Village just an extension of the suburbs now?”

“I don’t really know how to answer this… but when I recall walking home to 14th and C past stoops filled with parents minding their children in sustainable clothing talking about Wilco albums and how they miss THE WIRE, I’m pretty sure I’m in suburbia.”

Skateboarder and author Anthony Pappalardo on his past and present experiences of the East Village from NEW YORK TIMES blog LOCAL EAST VILLAGE