Monday, April 27, 2009

L'Etat Spectacle

Guy Debord denounced La Société du spectacle. Michel Rocard and Roger-Gérard Schwartzenberg attack L'État spectacle. The argument is familiar: "The image," says Rocard, "is hostile to complexity; it demands conflict, emotion, and drama but certainly not complexity, sociological depth, or explanatory power."

There is of course truth to this, but it's a complaint against democracy that goes back much farther than the invention of television, where Rocard seems to situate it. Good-government reformers have always deplored the emotionalism of voters, their lack of knowledge of the issues, and the superficial basis of their judgment. Splenetic attacks don't get us very far. It's time for Rocard to take down his volume of Aristotle's Politics and Plato's Republic. These will help him while away his time in retirement.

1 comment:

Philippe said...

Rocard will have plenty of time to browse through these volumes on those long flights to Washington (see also here and here for background)