Society of the Spectacle: WTF? Guy Debord, Situationism and the Spectacle Explained | Tom Nicholas


Hi, my name’s Tom. Welcome back to my
channel and to another episode of What the Theory?, my ongoing series in which I provide some sometimes enjoyable but always accessible introductions to key
theories in cultural studies and the wider humanities. Today, we’re going to be
taking a look at French theorist Guy Debord’s 1967 book The Society of the
Spectacle in order to unpack how Debord critiques a society which he saw as
being ever more obsessed with images and appearances over reality, truth and
experience. As always, if you’ve got any questions as we go along then please do
feel free to pop those down in the comments below and, if this seems like
your kind of thing, then please do consider subscribing. With that out of
the way however, let’s crack on with it. Particularly following the rise of
social media, Guy Debord’s The Society of the
Spectacle has often been held up as a kind of book of our times, an (albeit not
always particularly easy to follow) guide to a highly mediated, image-obsessed,
confusing and confused world. However it’s worth noting that, while it may seem
to resonate quite strongly in the present day, the book is in actual fact a
little over fifty years old. Though it might often seem to predict such things,
The Society of the Spectacle was not written in a context of Instagram
stories and Twitter threads but, instead, against a backdrop of revolutionary,
anti-establishment fervor in 1960s Paris. See, following the end of the
Second World Wars Europe had become gripped by consumerism.
With peace seemingly here to stay and worldwide markets opening up, Europeans
of most social classes suddenly had access to a huge range of consumer goods
including cars, home appliances and electronics which they dutifully began
filling their homes with. Not everyone, however, saw this as an intrinsically
good thing and among the skeptics was the Situationist International, a group
of which Guy Debord was a key member and who, according to the Encyclopedia
Britannica, ‘believed that a society organized around such consumption
induced boredom while shaping people’s desires in ways that could be fulfilled
only through the purchase of consumer goods”. The Situationist international
held that consumerism preyed upon the fact that slaving away from 9:00 to 5:00
in order to make profit for one’s boss is inherently monotonous, boring and
unfulfilling and that, through increasingly sophisticated and
manipulative advertising methods, consumerism had managed to convince
people that they might find the satisfaction and fulfillment that they
craved not through throwing off the shackles of capitalism but, instead,
through buying a new car, television or refrigerator. Initially very much an
artistic movement, the Situationist International thus sought to create
“situations”: moments in which the monotony of everyday capitalist routine was
disrupted without having to buy stuff. In short, they wanted to encourage people to
find moments of truth and real experience among what they saw as the
all-pervasive consumerist lie. Many of these situations which they created were
incredibly small and personal, such as their development of the derive, a sort
of method for taking an aimless wander throughout a city in order to allow
oneself to come across new people, new places and experience new things.
However the ideas of the Situationist International became incredibly popular
amongst Parisian students and, though it would be a stretch to suggest that they
acted as a catalyst, when students and workers across France
went on strike during the evenement of May 1968, Situationist slogans could be
found on many a placard. Alongside this artistic practice, the Situationist
International produced a small library’s worth of literature of which Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle is only one example and, as we discuss The Society of the Spectacle, it’s worth bearing in mind this revolutionary
context. Because, although it is often introduced as a purely descriptive work,
it is in actual fact a manifesto. Debord seeks to encourage us not just to
recognize the Spectacle and the society that has supposedly fallen under its
spell but also to seek to subvert it. At its heart, then, The Society of the
Spectacle is a critique of post-war capitalism. And, in this way, it very much
sits within a Marxist theoretical tradition. Guy Debord makes this clear
in his own roundabout way in the opening lines when he states that ‘in societies
dominated by modern conditions of production, life is presented as an
immense accumulation of spectacles’. This phrasing being an allusion to the
opening lines of Das Kapital in which Marx states that ‘the wealth of those
societies in which the capital mode of production prevails, presents
itself as an immense accumulation of commodities’. While Debord considered
Marx’s description of capitalism and its inherent need for inequality and
disempowerment generally correct, he also recognized that the system had changed
somewhat in the 100 years since Marx had published Das Kapital. In particular, Debord argued that capitalism had ‘produced a level of abundance sufficient
to solve the initial problem of survival but only in such a way that the same
problem is continually being regenerated at a higher level’. In short, the
technological advances brought about by capitalism meant that our basic survival
needs were now pretty easily met. Yet, in its constant need to find new markets,
capitalism had simply redefined what survival meant. Debord argues that we
now pursue a sort of ‘augmented survival’ in which we don’t just want consumer
goods we consider them a need, something that is necessary for our augmented
survival. It’s perhaps important for me to state that Debord is not suggesting
here that we should just be happy with having food, water, shelter and warmth and just be done with it. To think that Debord might be
suggesting that computers or the internet, for example, are entirely
superfluous is to misunderstand him. What he is suggesting is that capitalism
encourages us to always be thinking that we need—not want but need—more. Even once we have a perfectly serviceable computer which will fulfill all the great
functions that computers and the internet fulfil, we think that we need
an even better one. All of this so far, however, is a simply surface-level
critique of consumerism. Debord, however, was not content with this and
what makes The Society of the Spectacle a particularly important and influential
work is where he goes with this idea next. Debord argues that, at his time
of writing, capitalism was experiencing ‘a general shift from having to
appearing—all having must now derive its immediate prestige and its ultimate
purpose from appearances’. Debord is here arguing that, rather than our desire
for that new computer coming from a place of genuinely believing that it
performs the function that we need it for better than our current one,
instead, if only subconsciously, we are guided by thinking that it will improve
how we appear to others. When he refers to the “society of the Spectacle”, then, Debord is suggesting that late capitalism has encouraged us to become
obsessed with image and appearances above all else. Certainly, we are
surrounded by image-based advertising on billboards, on the sides of buses, before
during and after our YouTube videos. But, also, as well as often being based upon
images—moving or still—modern advertising largely operates around
selling us products based on the effect they might have upon our appearance. To
stick with the example of computers, Apple’s 2006 to 2009 “I’m a Mac and I’m a
PC” advert may make some suggestions as to why one might want to buy a Mac over
a PC based upon functionality, but it primarily hinges on selling us the idea
that the kind of person who uses a Mac is far more fun and youthful than the
stuffy old Windows user. We are thus not really sold the product itself but the
image, appearance or lifestyle that it represents. Oftentimes, we find
celebrities used to this end in adverts as a kind of shorthand for the image or
appearance that marketers want us to associate with a particular product. In
this year’s Superbowl, for example, Tom Hanks appeared in an advert for The
Washington Post. Hanks’ own image is one of a fairly
intelligent, sensible, reasonable person whose biggest vice is collecting vintage
typewriters. Including him in this advert thus act as something of a shorthand for
suggesting that, if you buy the Washington Post, you too will be seen as
intelligent and reasonable. Elsewhere during the game, 2 Chainz appeared in
an advert for Expensify, an app which records receipts for people who have
expense accounts for work. Here, albeit comedically, 2 Chainz is used as a
shorthand for suggesting that this app is used by the kind of people who have
luxurious, expensive lifestyles and, if you’re seen to be using it too, people
will think the same about you. Again, no one’s even trying to convince us that
the products themselves are good; they’re simply selling us on the image that it
might help us curate. The celebrities involved in these adverts are not even
taken as fully-rounded individuals, they solely serve to represent a certain
image. In truth, Tom Hanks probably also has to keep track of his expenses and
2 Chainz might feel incredibly strongly about the role of the press in a liberal
democracy, however the Spectacle is not interested in the subtleties,
complexities and contradictions of reality; it’s only interested in
presenting us with simplified, monosyllabic images. And this obsession
with appearances and images is not just confined to selling us products. Ever
since the publication of The Society of the Spectacle, many people have sought to use it as a way of critiquing contemporary representative politics,
suggesting that politicians might be just as involved in selling us an
appearance over actual policy. In recent years, much of this discussion—like seemingly everything else—has revolved around Donald Trump’s campaign.
However, we can see it in almost all politicians to some extent. A lot of
Hillary Clinton’s campaign revolved specifically around how her demeanor or
appearance differed from that of Trump. She attempted, sometimes successfully
sometimes not, to curate an image of decency and stateswomanship. And, while these attributes may certainly be favorable in our elected politicians,
they’re not policies. Again, the communication of a presidential image is
prioritized over the communication of what Hilary might actually have done as
president. Now, when put in this way, it might be tempting to see this notion of
the Spectacle as simply a description of the way that the media has come to work
in the present day. Debord however was adamant that this was not the case. He
writes that ‘the spectacle cannot be understood as a mere visual excess
produced by mass-media technologies. It is a worldview that has actually been
materialized’ rather than being imposed upon us from above. Debord was clear
that the Spectacle is in actual fact diffuse throughout society; that we all
participate in it and are all to some extent responsible for sustaining it. He
argues that ‘real life is materially invaded by the contemplation of the
spectacle, and ends up absorbing and aligning itself with it’. Again, it’s not
just advertisers and politicians that have come to prioritize the projection
of images and appearances over communicating actually meaningful
information but all of us. Although he doesn’t discuss it due to the small
matter of it not being invented yet, one of the clearest articulations of how the
Spectacle has invaded our everyday lives is social media. The version of ourselves
that we place online is highly curated and selective: most of us are quite keen
to portray ourselves as happy people who are successful in some way and fulfilled
in our relationships. And, in this way, we act in very much the same way as those
advertisers and, even more so, we become obsessed by appearing to be happy
successful and fulfilled rather than actively going out and
seeking those experiences. As Debord writes, ‘the spectacle is an affirmation of
appearances and an identification of all social life with appearances’. And he does
really mean all social life because, although many of us engage in this kind
of curation of appearances and images of ourselves online
somewhat knowingly, I think if we really thought about it we’d probably have to
admit that we do so offline an awful lot too. So, to conclude in some
way. There is far more to be said about The Society of the Spectacle than I
could have ever have hoped to have got into one video. If anyone would like to
see a follow-up to this where I look at some other aspects of the book then do
let me know down below. And, if by the time you’re watching this I have been
convinced by the lovely people who watch these videos to make that video, then
I’ll link it up there. However today I wanted to focus on that central element,
this notion that Debord argues that capitalism or late capitalism in the
present day has become obsessed with images and appearances over truth and
real experience. I’ll admit that The Society of the
Spectacle is not always an easy read. However the manner in which, from a
distance of fifty years, it fairly accurately predicted our image-obsessed
mediated world makes it a really worthwhile text to try and crack. Thank
you very much for watching this video. I hope it provided some kind of insight
into the fundamentals of Debord’s work. If you have found this video useful
and think it is a vague net positive for the world then I really appreciate a
thumbs up down below and, equally, if you’d like to see more like this, then
please do consider subscribing. Thank you very much for watching once again and
have a great week!

100 Comments

  1. P.V. C. said:

    Hey Tom, I'll awser you in portuguese because my english is poor and limitaded
    Outro vídeo muito bom! Acompanho seu canal há algum tempo. Fico muito animado de ver um colega de doutorado em humanidades com entusiasmo para fazer o trabalho de divulgação que você faz, isso é importante.
    Cara, esse livro do Guy Debord sempre me faz lembrar das brigas dele com Foucault; mas me chama definitivamente para o texto do Fredric Jameson de título "Culture and finance capital". Esse texto, mesmo escrito em um contexto um tanto diferente, penso que amplie a compreensão do mundo desse período, que ainda ecoa de certa forma em nossos dias.
    Seria interessante vê-lo falar alguma coisa sobre Jameson. Mas veja sua disponibilidade para tanto (a agenda de um pesquisador é bastante cheia :))
    Abraços do Brasil!

    February 7, 2019
    Reply
  2. anchidotz☽ said:

    this video couldn't have come at a better time. please do a follow-up.

    February 7, 2019
    Reply
  3. Chen Evelyn said:

    Hello from Taiwan! I'm just new for your channel and regretted not finding it earlier! I'm quite interested in culture studies. Thanks a lot for such great videos! The introduction is super clear and helpful for a beginner. 🙂

    February 8, 2019
    Reply
  4. Rina said:

    This was such a delightful video once again! You deserve so many more subscribers! I took a seminar on postmodern literature this semester and your videos have been a perfect addition!

    February 8, 2019
    Reply
  5. Benjamin Benson said:

    Part 2 would be much appreciated.

    February 11, 2019
    Reply
  6. Kaitlin Estep said:

    What a great video! would love to hear your thoughts on the chapters about time. keep it up 😉

    February 14, 2019
    Reply
  7. AR VR Audio said:

    Incredibly well done…bravo, Tom. All the best going forward and will keep an eye out for more. Cheers

    February 17, 2019
    Reply
  8. Onat Altın said:

    Thank you so much for this video. I too would love to hear more about your interpretations and explanations of Society of the Spectacle.

    February 18, 2019
    Reply
  9. Elonkelon said:

    I subbed after watching this video. Brilliant stuff 👍

    February 20, 2019
    Reply
  10. Ned DeLamatre said:

    Nice work. I've just begun my investigation of Debord's ideas and you have been very helpful in this regard.

    February 20, 2019
    Reply
  11. Mathias Skillestad said:

    Part 2 would be great!

    February 21, 2019
    Reply
  12. Altay Yuce Turan said:

    I'd really appreciate a sequel! Just subscribed. Im especially struggling to understand how and why Debord says that dialectical theory and detournement is somehow the appropriate response to "spectacular structuralist" culture in chapter 8 ? A comment response explaining this, or showing me a step in the right direction, or discussing this in the next video would be really appreciated lol.

    February 25, 2019
    Reply
  13. olashes said:

    Awesome vid! Thx!

    February 25, 2019
    Reply
  14. Spaghetti Lab said:

    Really great job. Thanks for making this video.

    February 26, 2019
    Reply
  15. Johnathan Titus said:

    more Guy Debord please! This was a supper helpful summary.

    February 28, 2019
    Reply
  16. David Weisblatt said:

    Make a little love

    March 3, 2019
    Reply
  17. Testudo Graeca said:

    I got hit with an ad at 8:38, right after you said "Before, during, and after our YouTube videos" within the context of where advertising is present.

    March 6, 2019
    Reply
  18. Iana A. said:

    It's important to notice that before "capitalism" was invented, royalty everywhere in the world thrived on "appearances" as well. Being a royal was about setting up a (sometimes quite literal) spectacle for all the other royals and the people under their domain to see and revel on it. Worst case scenario, capitalism has transformed this cult of the appearance to serve the necessary consumerism. When in royalty, there was no chance for any other lower level class member to achieve that level of abundance. In capitalism, marketing campaigns, celebrities and online influencers try to sell this notion that yes, you too can become "royalty" by possessing these gimmicks being sold (which is, of course, B.S.).

    Also… there is this weird notion that capitalism somehow "enslaved" people in a boring, mechanical labour, that brings them no joy or personal fulfillment… not realizing that even the notion of personal fulfillment is a privilege (of class, if you want to keep it Marxist). What were people doing before the industrial revolution? Slaving away in fields, construction sites and mortal trade routes. The mere idea that somehow people in the past were NOT slaving away somewhere is, at the very least, incredibly naive.

    March 9, 2019
    Reply
  19. Julene A said:

    Bravo

    March 12, 2019
    Reply
  20. Haley Anderson said:

    Hi Tom,

    This is the first video that I have watched of yours – Great job. I would be interested in your follow-up video on Debord. So, in response to your crowdsourcing, I vote "yes." Thanks!

    March 14, 2019
    Reply
  21. Spicarida said:

    Thanks Nicholas! I found your introduction really useful. It would be nice to have a second part, your videos are great! Cheers!

    March 18, 2019
    Reply
  22. Ahmad Makari said:

    to the one person that disliked this video… fuck you

    March 20, 2019
    Reply
  23. Sophia Hadjipapa said:

    thank you, always happy to discover "easily digestible" resources to help students into complex issues!

    March 21, 2019
    Reply
  24. Tom L said:

    I’ve looked at many videos describing Society of the Spectacle, but this one was by far the clearest. You’ve convinced me to buy the book

    March 22, 2019
    Reply
  25. Broken Socrates said:

    The best translations from French to English are from Ken Knabb, since he was actually with the SI a long time ago. I read his autobiography and I actually recommend his essay The Joy of Revolution for anyone interested in The Society of the Spectacle, but feel like Debord may be a bit dry or hard to get through. I also recommend searching The Society of the Spectacle in YouTube and checking out the new hour long video/audiobook– they're very well done and provide visual context that is well done. Here is Ken Knabb's website– also, you can add him on FB if you'd like, he performs poetry recitals and stuff at Berkeley every once and a while 🙂 http://www.bopsecrets.org/ Mind your eyes!

    I appreciate your video and I'll forward it to people as a way to get introduced into learning about it. Thank you!

    March 24, 2019
    Reply
  26. Ender Wiggin said:

    Great content! Thanks Tom, I've already read Debord, and as a lot of French writers, his writing is kind of cryptic, but your analysis is pretty clear and straightforward

    March 26, 2019
    Reply
  27. Kayleigh Vowles said:

    You're so interesting!!

    March 26, 2019
    Reply
  28. Yiğitcan Tuncer said:

    Amazing content, glad I found it

    March 26, 2019
    Reply
  29. Rosemary Garcia said:

    Thank you for helping to explain this – fascinating stuff!

    March 29, 2019
    Reply
  30. Luis Pano said:

    This is really helpfull!

    April 1, 2019
    Reply
  31. Aleph naught said:

    DEFINITELY NEED A FOLLOW UP SERIES.

    April 5, 2019
    Reply
  32. gabriele napoli said:

    at 8:36 "..during and after our YouTube videos.." my video stopped because of an advertisement. i laughed for 15 minutes

    April 7, 2019
    Reply
  33. gabriele napoli said:

    i too would like a continuation, you are very clear

    April 7, 2019
    Reply
  34. Libby T said:

    thank you!

    April 8, 2019
    Reply
  35. jonathan verret said:

    Great video! I just came to see how to pronounce "Guy Debord," but ended up staying for the whole thing! You have a very clear and direct way of breaking down the content without losing the substance of it. I would watch a follow-up video.

    April 9, 2019
    Reply
  36. 99miyah said:

    You and Daniel Radcliffe have the same voice 🤔

    April 13, 2019
    Reply
  37. Rich Mansfield said:

    So, what happens now?

    April 14, 2019
    Reply
  38. Radical Reviewer said:

    oh hey cool, nice video. I wish I would have seen this when I was still working on my video.if you're interested you should totally check my video out I just came out with it a few days ago.

    April 22, 2019
    Reply
  39. John Little said:

    Great vid. I'm watching the Spectacle now and he keeps reminding me of Coluche speaking to a union gathering of janitors. "Camarades, balayeurs…" It seems he's complaining about the society that people like Edward Bernays created at the turn of the 20th Century, right after WWI. The Consumer Society. Personally, I prefer Coluche's version!

    April 25, 2019
    Reply
  40. redstrat1234 said:

    Saw the 'Spectacle' reference used on Frankie Boyle's New World Order tonight- needed more info. This was really well explained, thank you sir. (sounds like Debord was on to something)

    April 25, 2019
    Reply
  41. - G said:

    The thing that gets me is that we are all a part of the spectacle. Very rarely in our day do we not feed into it. We talk of the spectacle as if it was a monster that was created by some external factor, but in actuality it is us who created it. We all have our own part to play. More crucially we will just keep rolling down the hill in a bus with no breaks until the wheels fall off or we run off the cliff edge.

    April 25, 2019
    Reply
  42. Dan Fix said:

    Great video. I've just ordered the book. Frankie Boyle led me and no doubt many others here. Keep up the good work 🙂

    April 26, 2019
    Reply
  43. Tau Mitch said:

    Well done Tom ! That was quite interesting, you very well grasped the essence of Debord's book ! And yes it would be appreciated if you could make a follow up to this video, simply because Debord wrote a sequel to "The society of the spectacle" in 1988 which is "Comments on the society of the spectacle".

    April 27, 2019
    Reply
  44. Galuh Anisa said:

    Hello, I stumbled upon your video right after I watched Debord's Society of the Spectacle film and I want to thank you for your explanation because I found myself struggle understanding the content of the film. I would really appreciate if you make a continuation of this video. Great work and thank you very much!

    April 29, 2019
    Reply
  45. Tert Memelur said:

    at around 9:20
    another really famous examples is Nike's CEO who said "the one still selling a product is an idiot, as of today one sells a brand" or smth

    April 29, 2019
    Reply
  46. ItHadToBeSaid said:

    Yes, our world is based on illusion. On my channel I try to sift through the illusions and get to the truth.

    April 29, 2019
    Reply
  47. Vanessa Lutz said:

    Please make another video about Guy Debord's S of the S

    April 29, 2019
    Reply
  48. Japagow Trio said:

    Do it…more please….in the context of France in the sixties. I always found resonance with the idea of the Spectacle and Guy Debord

    April 29, 2019
    Reply
  49. Phaedrus said:

    Loved this walkthrough. Happy to subscribe.

    April 30, 2019
    Reply
  50. Bryan O'Donoghue said:

    Deliciously subversive.

    April 30, 2019
    Reply
  51. rusterpus111 said:

    well done for your cleverness

    April 30, 2019
    Reply
  52. Lindsey Thompson said:

    Really great video and very interesting. Franky Boyle led me to Guy Dubord!

    April 30, 2019
    Reply
  53. Izzy M P said:

    brilliant video, was wondering what you studied & are currently studying at university?

    April 30, 2019
    Reply
  54. Hannah Paskin said:

    part 2 yes please!!!

    April 30, 2019
    Reply
  55. David Ex said:

    interesting subject! I actually came to a similar conclusion sometime ago but I think of it in terms of what I call "survival inflation"

    May 1, 2019
    Reply
  56. Franny Bass said:

    Would LOVE a follow-up. Realising more and more that I am in fact a Situationist!

    May 2, 2019
    Reply
  57. Rog5446 said:

    Learn how to spell!
    What the feary indeed!

    May 2, 2019
    Reply
  58. April Kester said:

    Thanks Tom, in the US, hobbits like you are known as Iowans. Subbed and bell clicked 🙂

    May 3, 2019
    Reply
  59. Давит Карапетян said:

    Hi Tom, this is truly interesting and nicely put, reminds me of the artists termed Pop Art, who kind of explored similar ideas on their canvases. It also reminds me of a quote I found from a book called 'Crash' by J.G. Ballard – “We live in a world ruled by fictions of every kind—mass merchandising, advertising, politics conducted as a branch of advertising, the instant translation of science and technology into popular imagery, the increasing blurring and intermingling of identities within the realm of consumer goods, the preempting of any free or original imaginative response to experience by the television screen. We live inside an enormous novel. For the writer in particular it is less and less necessary for him to invent the fictional content of his novel. The fiction is already there. The writer's task is to invent the reality.”

    May 6, 2019
    Reply
  60. Macklin Regan said:

    8:39 you cheeky bastard

    May 7, 2019
    Reply
  61. Macklin Regan said:

    Ghee Debord is the great French filmmaker to come out of the 60s tbh

    May 7, 2019
    Reply
  62. Xoxoloko Marron said:

    just as he said that we are being bombarded with adds in youtube i got an fucking add…. its crazy when you think about it

    May 7, 2019
    Reply
  63. Emmer Winder said:

    Follow up!!! Please!!

    May 9, 2019
    Reply
  64. trufiend138 said:

    My 2 cents/pence is that a deep study of Edward Bernays’ philosophies and constructs (and derivatives made by disciples and others, replicating his signals) negates the need to study any “postmodern” philosophy. At least to length.

    Virtually all of the postmodernists were trying to describe a rapidly growing social system and simulation of reality that he “created”.

    They were trying make sense of a representation of the world, while not knowing who he was and what he “created”.

    Bernays work infiltrated and influenced political messaging and war reporting more than any other policial scientist or military propagandist before him, and since him.

    Even with the internet, we are still dead-ended by a world/social view dominated by his messaging.

    Indeed. As the internet of things and AI become common place, there will an emergence of a more troubling “reality”. And one that will have to compete with the hyper of virtual/augmented reality. That is, if we survive long enough on the planet to perfect it.

    May 10, 2019
    Reply
  65. Steve Wood said:

    Thanks Tom, I bought the book knowing very little about it. Honestly, I heard it mentioned on a talk show recently, and thought it should be one I read. Bit above my pay grade, as the text is very complex. The youtube really helped and i'll soldier on. (perhaps i just wish to ‘appear' as somenone who coud digest such a book 😉 )

    May 12, 2019
    Reply
  66. Tom Nicholas said:

    You asked for it so I made it! If you'd like to check out my follow-up to this video in which I look at the spectacle and recuperation, pop over here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wl3HCKQ6WI Enjoy!

    May 15, 2019
    Reply
  67. Hugo Dimas said:

    great points of explanation, this video really helps me through to understand what the spectacle theory is. do you have the video explanation of Foucault, i need that to help me on media studies class tbh?

    May 15, 2019
    Reply
  68. metrok00laid said:

    great stuff!

    May 22, 2019
    Reply
  69. Katie_pol said:

    I just want to note the truly excellent timing- immediately after you said we were bombarded with visual advertising, before during and after our YouTube videos… I got an ad.

    May 23, 2019
    Reply
  70. chriszanf said:

    Have you read Daniel Boorstins "The Image" and if so, do you see parallels with TSotS?

    In it, he describes how our world has become inundated with 'pseudo-events' – manufactured spectacles such as press conferences or presidential debates and was published in 1962, preceeding The Society of the Spectacle by 6 years

    June 2, 2019
    Reply
  71. Karley Marx said:

    T H I S I S G O O D C O N T E N T

    June 5, 2019
    Reply
  72. John Booth said:

    Absolutely brilliantly explained thank you so much Tom

    June 5, 2019
    Reply
  73. MultiDimensionalEnTT ㄣ⃒ ㄣ⃒ ㄣ⃒ said:

    I really hope that advert, which appeared after you spoke about advertisements on our youtube videos, was put there intentionally 😉

    June 8, 2019
    Reply
  74. Eric Draven said:

    i'm reading the book at the minute but was looking for additional materials for context – this was really helpful, thank you!

    June 15, 2019
    Reply
  75. Stephen Anderson said:

    What is it with the French and philosophy? Sounds like our time is a time of plurality and excess. Sometimes excess can corrupt natural law, and if we just keep accumulating without seemingly any effort our vanity might well have to evolve as well. But the worrying thing is, for me at least, is who writes the constitution?

    June 17, 2019
    Reply
  76. JE said:

    I made the 1000th 👍!!!!!! 😃

    June 18, 2019
    Reply
  77. Eduard Peyró said:

    Thanks for the knowledge!

    June 18, 2019
    Reply
  78. Lucy Vizor said:

    Very helpful for my essay! Thank you, could not get my head around this topic until this video

    June 25, 2019
    Reply
  79. Yang Michelle said:

    thanks! Good job!

    June 28, 2019
    Reply
  80. Jjl Lennedy said:

    El espectáculo es ante todo una RELACIÓN SOCIAL mediatizada por imágenes. Es una buena frase que te has olvidado, aún así en general buen video. Me suscribo

    June 30, 2019
    Reply
  81. Demineon said:

    Just found your channel. This is dope! Keep it up

    July 12, 2019
    Reply
  82. Marcus Holdsworth said:

    The 1975 brought me here

    July 29, 2019
    Reply
  83. Kevin Shlosberg said:

    Thanks for this, Tom. I'm currently slogging through this translation of the book, and your video was helpful. Would love to see a follow-up. Cheers.

    August 2, 2019
    Reply
  84. sexobscura said:

    I bought some 'Society of the Spectacle' toiletries for fifty dollars

    August 3, 2019
    Reply
  85. Michiel said:

    Great content my dude! That's a sub for me.

    August 3, 2019
    Reply
  86. Raafat Hamze said:

    Thank you for this video. Haven't human societies always been built on appearances? Part of why language itself evolved is to function as a "PR/Persona machine". How does the introduction of mass consumption and mass/social media modify this other than by merely amplifying it? Isn't the Potlatch (among other ancient rituals) pretty much a spectacle? Aren't birds' mating rituals, which are fully based on simulation, also mini-spectacles?

    August 4, 2019
    Reply
  87. Plant Bakker said:

    What is your opinion on Edward Bernays and his book Propaganda?
    Politicians + appearance-based judgment reminds me of the 'Cult of Personality'

    August 5, 2019
    Reply
  88. Andrew Wade said:

    He was right at the time, and remains very much a prophet of our times, but things have fundamentally changed yet again since the Sixties – bare survival is once again the way that capitalism reproduces itself, under the glamourous sheen of the Spectacle.

    Marxism proved to be more theoretically durable than Situationism because the borgeousie need the threat of destitution to keep the proles in line. Capitalism just doesn't work if you give everyone a basic income and a council flat, people aren't stupid, they go screw work and make up their own shit to do. This is the hidden rationale of neoliberalism – keep the peasants hungry and cold, if they get too smug they start asking questions!

    August 6, 2019
    Reply
  89. kahandula said:

    Hey, great summary! How about "The revolution of everyday life" as a next one? 🙂

    August 12, 2019
    Reply
  90. J Pinto said:

    Interesting to tie into baudrillard

    August 18, 2019
    Reply
  91. Lama Ghanem said:

    Thank you for this video!

    August 22, 2019
    Reply
  92. Canadian Potato said:

    This book is easier to read I finding after reading Baudrillard's System of Objects. It seems that they share ideas, especially in the section on Advertising.

    August 25, 2019
    Reply
  93. KoreaMojo said:

    They help core you out, so they can offer commodities to fill you up. They encourage your alienation, so you can by superficial admiration. Project who you'd like to be, while forgetting you cannot buy your way to good character…

    August 26, 2019
    Reply
  94. Isidora Molina said:

    Oh my god, I recently bought the book but I didn't know that was an complicated lecture. Best wishes to me! Your videos are gonna help me a lot <3. Thanks, Tom!

    August 28, 2019
    Reply
  95. Gogo Gaga said:

    BRO FORGET ABOUT NOSTRADAMUS ITS ALL ABOUT DEBORD!

    August 31, 2019
    Reply
  96. Gogo Gaga said:

    Imagine Writing A Book In 1967 That's Still Relevant In 2019.

    August 31, 2019
    Reply
  97. M0 Aruda said:

    I am starting to read Raoul Vaneigem The Revolution of Everyday Life. I think with modern explanation like this one and much reflection I will be guided into weird realm… I will read Guy Debord next _ am anxious to understand more

    September 4, 2019
    Reply
  98. Audrey Conway said:

    Thank you for you work.

    September 5, 2019
    Reply
  99. lijenamacka said:

    I always find Red Bull an interesting example in this regard. How they went from being a producer of 'energy drinks' to being an overall 'extreme sports brand'. Can't remember I ever saw an ad really focusing on the 'great taste' (and maybe for a reason?) or actual effects of the drink, rather than linking the drink and the brand to people challenging themselves and doing 'cool stuff' and extreme sports…

    September 17, 2019
    Reply
  100. Timothy Lee said:

    Excellent lecture, thanks.

    September 18, 2019
    Reply

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