Eric’s Writing Blog

The writing blog of Eric Rosenfield

Thinking about Marx

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Marx talks about how the culture of the bourgeois is a culture designed to transform you into a machine — that is, a production machine. A revolutionary culture would then challenge bourgeois social norms.

John Clute remarked at ReaderCon that great literature should be dangerous (not original to him, I realize, but it got me thinking about it). Obviously one of the ways to be dangerous is to challenge social norms (and this observation is not original to me, I also realize). Marxism gives you a way to look at stories and ask if they are reinforcing social norms (be they capitalist, bourgeois, conservative or otherwise) or challenging them, and then ask if they are challenging them, are they doing it in an interesting way. In other words, what is this narrative saying in respect to social norms, in respect to societal values. Marxists dissected the Byronic hero of the 19th century as a symbol of bourguois decadence (and with good reason), but I think an equally interesting analysis could be made of the typical “underdog” style hero of today’s action-adventure-comedy-whathaveyou stories.

Just thinking out loud…

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Written by ericrosenfield

August 4, 2010 at 2:19 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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