The violence of mass consumption is a slow burn. It sticks to the skin and slowly eats away at the flesh. An array of objects and symbols subject the person in a battery of seduction. The senses are bombarded with loud, garish ploys designed to gain attention, engage in play and finally to seal the transaction. It picks away at your body, leaving none but bone.
Consider the conspicuous image of the girl, red-mouth puckered, sporting the shiny lip gloss. One is assaulted by her pixie eyes, her supple skin and that mouth ready to perform. The violence is in rendering in the victim a lack. That is, of pixie eyes and supple skin rendered perfect by the magic of image manipulators. A woman needs that lip gloss. A man needs that girl. Purchase to fulfil that mass of unarticulated desires.
Consider the image of a grinning heterosexual couple on a green field, flanked on either side by playing children and that dream house. So and so Realty is ready to gift you your dreams. All that you must want. All that you have worked for and have saved monies for is plastered on the giant wall. The anxieties of the norm slice through your fragile ego, articulating your lack, your deviance.
Consider the gadget framed in the vitrine. The shiny metallic glint signals to you the untold pleasures that can be had playing with it. You enter the store and play the simpering suitor, admiring it, caressing it as its pimp sings you its praises. It was created to cater especially to your needs, needful creature that you are. And you must have it to take home to play.
The phantasmagoria of consumption colonises all of the public domain, from one end of this metropolis to the other. Upon entering these churches both extravagant and small, one is forced to genuflect, to lay supplicant to the play of spectacle, to the blaring noise of sounds bouncing off shiny coated floors and walls. The faces of other worshippers are laid bare by harsh fluorescent lights. All are zombie-dead, sheep herded by things that facilitate movement from one space of consumption to the next. The MRT, the roadways, the escalators, the civilised spaces of this city - habitable, walkable, driveable – all lead to these places of worship.
Frankly, I am sick of all this.
Read also The Depoliticisation of the Filipino and the Marketisation of Everything and In Response to Resty O.