Sunday, October 23, 2011

The game called consumerism

Province Town, July 2010    J. Stimmell ©2011
It’s almost Halloween. Scary movies are hitting the big screen, left and right. The scariest movie I ever saw was The Truman Show, supposedly a comedy-drama, starring Jim Carrey as Truman, who, up to the age of 30, was unaware that he had lived his entire life on a constructed reality television show. The plot involves Truman discovering the artificiality of his perceived reality and then, his quest to escape.

The movie lifted the veil, making me see clearly for the first time how we all, like Truman, were being used, becoming pawns in some one else’s game. And, since the movie came out in 1998, things have only gotten worse.

Media theorist, McKenzie Wark, in his recent book, Gamer Theory, claims that the process is now complete: life under consumerism has become totally gamified:

“Ever get the feeling you’re playing some vast and useless game whose goal you don’t know and whose rules you can’t remember?” asks Wark. “You are a gamer whether you like it or not, now that we live in a gamespace that is everywhere and nowhere. As Microsoft says: Where do you want to go today? You can go anywhere in gamespace but you can never leave it.”

Maybe that’s what Occupy Wall Street is really saying: We've figured out your game and we're not playing it anymore!
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