Friday, December 22, 2006
The Nightmare Before Christmas: succumbing to the discipline of capitalist work-time. posted by Richard SeymourSo, everyone settling in for Christmas? Most of you anyway, you 'atheist' Christians-in-drag. I can see you now, even as you finish work early today. Stocks of booze piled up, a flipping great ball of poultry in the fridge, a mountain of shite food that you would never otherwise touch in a million years (especially that revolting Christmas pudding). Hours spent milling around in the nightmarish frottage-fest of Oxford Street or your local equivalent. What else is there to do? You're not going to get a week off work for another while.
"Work-life balance", I suggested before, is a phrase that tells the truth about capitalist labour: work is not part of life. The workplace is the dead zone. Of course, leisure time itself is structured by the demands of capital: the necessity of transit, the hours needed to wind down, the decision about how much to drink, the pursuits made available by profit-driven enterprise during out of work hours, 'free' and undemanding television etc. Where you live, how you dispose of your income, sumptuary choices - all are determined by the process of capital accumulation. Not only that but the encroachments of work into resting hours are becoming ever more insidious - especially with this 'blackberry' invention, which ensures you receive calls and e-mails constantly.
So, the obverse of dead labour time is dead consumption time. It is a life structured for us in almost every detail by capital, both as workers and consumers, and here we are going through the most elaborately structured consumption time of the year. Because what else is there to do? The Tomb, for its part, has been disgustingly decorated with some tatty ornaments for this sham festival. I have a facsimile of eternal life in front of me:
That fucking plastic evergreen tree with its fake bauble-fruits mocks my undead persistence. But worst of all is this pathetic, shiny plastic simulation of the Red Star of communism.
Damn Christmas, and death to it. Stick it up your bonhomie. Scrooge was a wimp.