“The spectacle represents the dominant model of life.”Guy Debord
Debord (1967) presents the belief that “everything that was directly lived now is merely represented in the distance” wherein, “spectacle is a concrete inversion of life, an autonomous movement of the nonliving.” Basically, saying that since industry aims to generate a synthetic form of life (consumerism), life itself has become devoid of meaning – as the only meaning of life is to further consumerism.
Debord made these statements in 1967, however they ring startlingly true today. In a society that thrives on likes, shares and comments, how can we be anything else than a world of appearances? In this shift from having, to appearing to have, people seemingly live only to promote a certain online image. Their real personality is lost, inconsequential – that online world is the only world they know.
Debord’s statements led to a new form of meme, detournement. This subversion of consumerist propaganda is a form of mematic warfare against the very industry that has promoted online living. It works effectively as a form of ‘hacking’ propaganda, as the industry does not recognise it – it sees only its own image, and not the messages held within.
This form of meme creation presents a stark contrast to the humorous memes popularised in everyday society, having a deeper meaning that resonates within. It is this very power to act against the industry that controls us, that allows us to have some hope for the future.
References: Debord, G., 1967. The Society Of The Spectacle. 1st ed. Buchet-Chastel.