Blog post

Commute, work, commute, sleep ... —or why Situationism can explain the January blues

Rowan Wilson21 January 2011

Psychologists designated Janaury 17th as ‘the most depressing day of the year’. Like so much snake oil, we are bombarded with books, articles and programmes advising us on how to ‘find happiness’ in 2011.

But as Simon Reynolds reminds us, writing about the Situationists on blissblog, the problem remains not in our heads but in reality:

the Situationist critique of our civilisation in terms of boredom / isolation / "the poverty of everyday life" has never been more pertinent ... what with the internet, social networking, and other surrogates-for-true-fulfilment/community... digimodernism has created a whole new array of pseudo-activities, pseudo-participations.... digimodernism is Spectacle 2.0

Simon writes that much of politics ("staying informed") and music reflect this ‘Spectacle 2.0’, becoming "just another option in the array of passivities, all the time-kills available to you in this wonderful webbed infosphere ..."

On music he writes:

the Situationist critique is one of the best explanations for rock/pop/etc available ... as an explanation of why it came into existence in the first place, and of why it ultimately fails (ie. its rebellion against boredom/isolation/disenchantment is alway recuperated, turned into something that just reinforces boredom/isolation/disenchantment)

Visit blissblog to read the post in full.

Verso has a number of books on the Situationist critique of the "boredom/isolation/disenchantment" of bourgeoise society. As part of the latest Radical Thinkers series (set 5), we have just re-issued Guy Debord's Comments on the Society of the Spectacle. Debord's Panegyric is also available as part of Radical Thinkers set 4. Also highly recommended is The Situationists and the City: a Reader, edited by Tom McDonough,  and Henri Lefebvre's classic three volume Critique of Everyday Life, available individually and as a set.