“Modern Love” is The New York Times’ most widely read cultural column in both English and Spanish. It is also one of the paper’s most-listened-to podcasts and since 2019 a series on Prime with luxury casts that will premiere its second season this August. In the form of “life stories” and with exquisite editing of the texts, the 17 years of “Modern Love” are not just television material, but a true prospective of the evolution of American morality and bourgeois culture, its lacunae and its aftermath.
Tag: communal morality
Nomadland, directed by Chloe Zhao, won the this years’ Oscar for Best Picture. The novelty: it acknowledges the existence of workers and the precariousness they experience. The question: why did it win?
The success of Science of Well-Being, a course taught by Yale University on the Internet to nearly three and a half million students, has become one of the cultural phenomena of the pandemic.
Suddenly, a presumed psychological syndrome, pandemic fatigue, is all over the media. Public TV stations give advice on how to curb it, private ones tell us that 60% of the population is suffering from it. In the newspapers, opinion columns are coming one after another, with varying degrees of wit. The characteristic barrage of all media campaigns never stops, it goes on and on and reaches the fashion magazines and professional newsletters. It’s not innocent and far from helping, it aggravates the situation.
Articles promoting co-living are popping up in the press. They specifically target young workers (no students allowed, as pointed out by TeleMadrid) and sell a way of life based on an idea of community offering the promise of overcoming isolation and atomization. In reality: shared apartments with minimal individual spaces at prices which not long ago would have been charged for a family house; housing precariousness beyond the mini-house level based on a false collectivist bond and commodified interpersonal relationships. These are certainly similar to the oppressive and miserable stalinist komunalkas which are also now coming back, but light years away from the collective and communal housing movements of the workers’ movement up to and during the Russian Revolution.
Even before organizing, educating, discussing or agitating, it is time for something more basic: do not be afraid to go head on against the inconsequential indignation, do not accept the unarticulated complaint or the rage that does not seek understanding; it is not enough to be against the existing conditions, it is not enough to express detachment or courage. All this is also true of suicidal trumpists. None of this stops the breakdown by itself.
The more contradictions the system suffers, the more difficult it is to maintain accumulation, the more it needs to atomize and deny us as a class. In doing so, it also destroys what would allow us to better resist the daily consequences of such exploitation: from solidarity among friends and neighbors to family relations, to such basic things as eating decently or keeping our morals up. One cannot separate struggles in the workplace from action in the neighborhoods to defend ourselves from the effects of atomization and to strengthen our capacity for grouping and resistance.