.

And by a prudent flight and cunning save A life which valour could not, from the grave. A better buckler I can soon regain, But who can get another life again? Archilochus

Friday, December 31, 2021

On "Not Selfies" for Future Influencers

This is not a Selfie

You choose a sepia filter
To match your timeless visage
To match the clothes you've wandered into today
But it is not a selfie.

Your eyes pierce them through their iPhone screens
Your smile is casually not directed towards anyone in particular
Your outfit is recklessly on point
And it is not a selfie.

It is a punch in the gut
to everyone who has ever
said you are not good enough.
It is not a selfie.

The wings by your eyes will go out of style.
The dye in your hair will wash down the drain.
The clothes will wear out and you will take pictures again.

But you have fabricated a moment.
You are smiling towards yourself.
Slap your image onto every social media you know
Next to the supermodels and Kardashians and words of self hatred
This is the fulcrum with which you will lever the world.
This is not a selfie.

- Mathew (August, 2014)

Monday, December 20, 2021

The Problem of Communism...

Full movie here.

Communism/Communality has a problem that only Reciprocity-based social relationships like capitalism can solve.

I prefer to gain the social distance lacking in a Communality-based social relationship but inherent in a Reciprocity-based social relationship through the use of the "stored value" inherent in money.  I could impose my will with a Dominance based relationship, but then I'd spend all my time smacking fools around and ruining the skin on my knuckles.  I prefer not having to exert myself in such sporadic and typically painful bursts and rely on a less temporality dependent option.

Capitalism and Reciprocity have their own problems...
...related to their ubiquitous assimilation and imperative in "modern" culture.

The Internet is experimenting with new forms of social relationships.  Bitcoin/Paypal serve as money.  Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) serve as "art".  There are "communities" that practice communality.  And best of all, there are temporality independent hosting sites like Blogger.  Will we ever learn to apply these digital mediums in a socially constructive manner so as to form and maintain new social relationships in more pragmatic ways?  I suppose it remains to be seen.  Perhaps one day "intelligence" can somehow replace money in the maintenance of reciprocal social relations.

But not today...
In a society obsessed with "identity" and "authenticity", how will these values trade and support social relations in the future?
I doubt that the anxiety and often angst that accompanies Community-based social relations can ever be completely eliminated... it's sort of the glue that makes the whole family-friendship thing work.  But do we really want the ubiquitous assimilation of total detachment that accompanies post-modern corporate capitalist form of social relations so prevalent today?

Friday, December 17, 2021

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Assange

He compels us to publicly assume the knowledge we prefer to ignorant.

The British High Court ruled n Friday that Julian Assange can be extradited from the UK to the US. The US thus won its appeal against a January UK court ruling that he could not be extradited due to concerns over his mental health.

This latest twist in the endless Assange saga is just the culmination of the long and slow well-orchestrated campaign of character assassination that reached the lowest level imaginable with unverified rumors that Ecuadorians in their London embassy wanted to get rid of him because of his bad smell and dirty clothes.

In the first stage of the attacks on Assange, his ex-friends and collaborators went public with the claims that Wikileaks began well, but then got bogged down in Assange’s political bias (his anti-Hillary obsession, his suspicious ties with Russia…). More direct personal defamations followed: he is paranoid and arrogant, obsessed with power and control… Then we reached the bodily smells and stains. Yet the only thing that really reeks in this saga are some mainstream feminists who refuse any solidarity with Assange under the motto “no help to rapists.”

Is Assange a paranoiac? When you live permanently in an apartment that is bugged from above and below, and are the victim of constant surveillance organized by secret services, who wouldn’t be?

Is Assange a megalomaniac? When the (now former) CIA boss says your arrest is his priority, does not this imply that you are a “big” threat to some, at least?

Did Assange behave like the head of a spy organization? Well, Wikileaks is a spy organization, albeit one that serves the people, keeping them informed on what goes on behind the scenes.

So why is Assange such a trauma for the establishment? From whence does the ridiculously excessive desire for revenge stem from?

Assange and his colleagues like Edward Snowden are often accused of being traitors, but they are actually something much worse in the eyes of the authorities. As I wrote in 2014:

We are dealing with a gesture which questions the very logic, the very status quo, which for quite some time serves as the only foundation of all “Western” (non)politics. With a gesture which as it were risks everything, with no consideration of profit and without its own stakes: it takes the risk because it is based on the conclusion that what is going on is simply wrong.

Assange ironically designated himself a “spy for the people.” “Spying for the people” is not a direct negation of spying (which would rather be acting as a double agent, selling our secrets to the enemy). It undermines the very universal principles of spying and secrecy, since its goal is to make secrets public. But there is a deeper reason Assange causes such unease: he made it clear that the most dangerous threat to freedom does not come from an openly authoritarian power; it comes when our unfreedom itself is experienced as freedom.

How? At first, few things seem more “free” than browsing on the web, searching for the topics we like. But most of our activities — and passivities — are now registered in some digital cloud that permanently evaluates us, tracing not only our acts but our emotional states. The digital network gives new meaning to the old slogan “the personal is political.” And it’s not just control of our intimate lives that is at stake: everything is regulated by some digital network, from transport to health, from electricity to water. That’s why the web is our most important commons, and the struggle for its control is THE struggle of today. The enemy is the combination of corporations such as Google and Facebook and state security agencies such as the NSA.

Let’s take the case of Bill Gates. How did he become one of the richest men in the world? His wealth has nothing to do with the production costs of what Microsoft is selling — you can even argue that Microsoft is paying its intellectual workers a relatively high salary. Gates’ wealth is not the result of his success in producing good software for lower prices than his competitors, or in more exploitation of his hired intellectual workers.

Why, then, are millions still buying Microsoft? Because Microsoft imposed itself as an almost universal standard, (almost) monopolizing the field. In this, it’s similar to Jeff Bezos and Amazon, Apple, Facebook, etc. In all these cases, the commons themselves are privatized. This puts us, their users, into the position of serfs paying a tithe to the owner of a commons, a feudal master.

Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen recently told British MPs that Mark Zuckerberg “has unilateral control over three billion people.” The big achievement of modernity, the public space, is thus disappearing. Days after the Haugen revelations, Zuckerberg announced that his company would change its name from “Facebook” to “Meta,” and outlined his vision of “metaverse” in a speech that is a true neo-feudal manifesto.

As CUNY Queens College’s Douglas Rushkoff puts it:
Zuckerberg wants the metaverse to ultimately encompass the rest of our reality — connecting bits of real space here to real space there, while totally subsuming what we think of as the real world. In the virtual and augmented future Facebook has planned for us, it’s not that Zuckerberg’s simulations will rise to the level of reality, it’s that our behaviors and interactions will become so standardized and mechanical that it won’t even matter.
The metaverse will act as a virtual space beyond our fractured and hurtful reality, in which we will smoothly interact through our avatars, with elements of augmented reality. It will thus be nothing less than metaphysics actualized, fully subsuming reality, which will be allowed to enter only in fragments and only insofar as they will be overlaid by digital guidelines manipulating our perception and intervention. The catch is that we will get a commons that is privately owned, with a private feudal lord overseeing and regulating our interaction.

But that’s not all: the threat to our freedom disclosed by whistleblowers has even further systemic roots. Assange should be defended not only because his acts annoyed and embarrassed the US secret services. What he revealed is something that not only the US but also all other great (and not so great) powers are doing, to the extent they are technologically able to do it. His acts provided a factual foundation to our premonitions of how much we are all monitored and controlled. Their lesson is global, reaching far beyond the standard America-bashing.

We didn’t really learn from Assange (or Snowden or Manning) anything we didn’t already presume to be true — but it is one thing to know it in general, and another to get concrete proof. It’s a bit like discovering that a spouse you’ve long distrusted is cheating on you. You can accept the abstract knowledge of it, but pain arises when you learn the steamy details, when you get pictures of what they were doing.

The true target of Assange’s revelations is average hypocritical liberals who are aware of what state apparatuses and big companies do discreetly but prefer to ignore it. Publicly, we protest, at least from time to time, but silently we know that somebody must do the dirty job.

Assange blocks this way out. He compels us to publicly assume the knowledge we prefer to ignore. In this sense, he is fighting for us, against our complacency. This complacency explains why there is no large movement in support of Assange, why very few “big names” (like movie stars, writers or journalists) are ready to offer their support, enabling those in power to ignore us.

Freedom?

 


The story of a Chinese migrant worker who translated a book about 20th-century German philosopher Martin Heidegger from English into Mandarin went viral last month. Could ordinary people studying philosophy save the world? 

Chen Zi was born in 1990 in Jiangxi, in southeast China. In 2008, having failed his exams, he dropped out of university, where he’d been studying mathematics, and roamed the country for over 10 years, working mainly in factories to make a living.

Despite often having to do exhausting 12-hour shifts of repetitive and debilitating labor, Chen, whose real passion had always been philosophy, managed to learn English and began reading Heidegger. This year, while working in a factory in Xiamen, over the course of four months, he finished a translation into Chinese of a book by an American philosophy professor, Richard Polt, titled ‘Heidegger: An Introduction’. Having also completed some other translations, he asked online if anyone could help him publish them, having been told his chances of finding a publisher were very slim. When his post was discovered by the media, he became a hot topic on the internet.

Is there something liberating in this dedication to Heidegger or is it a false way out? It is easy to imagine the orthodox Marxist answer: assembly line workers do not need Heidegger as an antidote; what they need is to change their miserable working conditions.

Heidegger appears to have been a really bad choice for Chen, and for obvious reasons. After the posthumous publication of his private jottings in his ‘Black Notebooks’ in 2017, attempts abounded to exclude him from the list of philosophers to be taken seriously, on account of his anti-Semitism and Nazi links.

However, for this very reason, one should insist that Heidegger remains pertinent: even when he is at his worst, unexpected links open themselves up. In the mid-1930s, he said: “There are human beings and human groups (Negroes like, for example, Kaffirs) who have no history ... however, animal and plant life has a thousand year long and eventful history ... within the human region, history can be missing, as with Negroes.” (“Kaffir” was, at the time of apartheid, an ethnic slur used to refer to black Africans in South Africa.) The quoted lines are strange, even by Heidegger’s standards: so, animals and plants do have history, but “Negroes” do not? “Animal and plant life has a thousand year long and eventful history” – but, for sure, not in Heidegger’s strict sense of the epochal disclosures of being. Besides, where then do countries such as China or India stand, given they are also not historical in Heidegger’s specific sense?

Is this it, then? Should the case of Grant Farred, a noted contemporary black philosopher, born in South Africa, who teaches at Cornell University, in Ithaka, New York, be dismissed as a simple case of misunderstanding?

Farred’s short book ‘Martin Heidegger Saved My Life’ was written in reaction to a racist encounter. In the fall of 2013, while he was raking leaves outside his home, a white woman stopped by and asked him, “Would you like another job?”, obviously mistaking him for a paid gardener of the family she assumed lived in the house. Farred sarcastically responded: “Only if you can match my Cornell faculty salary.” In order to understand what happened, Farred turned to Heidegger: “Heidegger saved me because he gave me the language to write about race in such a way as I’d never written it before. Heidegger enabled me to write in this way because he has made me think about how to think.”

What he found so useful in Heidegger was the notion of language as a “house of being” – not the abstract-universal language of science and state administration, but language rooted in a particular way of life, language as the medium of an always-unique life experience that discloses reality to us in a historically specific way. It is easy to imagine how such a stance enables a subject to resist being swallowed into a global universe of technological domination. However, is this the way to fight what is often called the “Americanization” of our lives? To answer this question, we have to think – and, as Farred repeatedly points out, this is what he learnt from Heidegger – not just to think but to think about thinking.

To make it clear, I am not a Heideggerian. But what I do know is that we live in a unique moment that gives rise to the urgency to think. It is not a peaceful time that provides the opportunity to comfortably withdraw into reflection on the world, but a time when our survival as humans is under threat from different directions: the prospect of total digital control that plans to invade our mind itself (“wired brain”), uncontrollable viral infections, the effects of global warming. We are all affected by these threats – and so-called ‘ordinary people’ even more than others.

So we should celebrate miracles such as the one involving Chen Zi. They demonstrate that philosophy is much more than an academic discipline – it is something that can, all of a sudden, interrupt the course of our daily life and make us perplexed.

French philosopher Alain Badiou opens his book ‘The True Life’ with the provocative claim that, from Socrates onward, the function of philosophy is to “corrupt the youth,” to alienate them from the predominant ideologico-political order. Such “corruption” is needed today, especially in the liberal, permissive West, where most people are not even aware of the way the establishment controls them precisely when they appear to be free. After all, the most dangerous unfreedom is the unfreedom that we experience as freedom.

Is a “free” populist who works on destroying the thick social network of customs really free? Mao Zedong famously said in the 1950s: “Let a hundred flowers bloom. Let a hundred schools of thought contend.” Today, we should say: Let a hundred Chen Zis study philosophy – for only in this way will we find a way out of our sad predicament.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Max Weber - Intro to Soc/ Pol (SOCY 151)


Gemende - an organized group subject to a charismatic authority or charismatic community based upon an emotional form of communal relationship (Vergemeinschaftung).

It is sharply opposed to rational and bureaucratic authority.

Charismatic want satisfaction is a typically anti-economic force... it constitutes an irregular unsystemtic act.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Joy Thieves - American Parasite

Songs of the Surplus Salaried Bourgeois Corporate Globalist New World Order (NWO)
ARE YOU BORED OF THE PEOPLE THAT YOU WANT TO DESTROY?
NOT DYING QUICK ENOUGH? TOO SICK TO EMPLOY?
THEY KEEP COMPLAINING AND YOU ROLL YOUR EYES,
AMERICAN ANTOINETTE, HERE TO DESPISE!

DO THEY KEEP INTERFERING WITH YOUR SHOPPING SPREES?
COUGHING UP BLOOD ON YOUR DESIGNER TEES?
FLAUNTING SQUALOR LIKE A BADGE OF HONOUR
AMERICAN PARASITES FEEDING UPON HER

FIND SOMETHING NEW
BEFORE WE COME TO FIND YOU
THEN YOU’RE FUCKED FOR LIFE
AMERICAN PARASITE

(THIS IS PARADISE THIS IS PARADISE, THIS IS PARADISE, PARASITE, PARASITE)

DO YOU WISH THEIR VOICES WERE A LITTLE MORE GRATEFUL?
YOU ALL GET TO LIVE IN THIS UTOPIAN STATE
AND IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, YOU CAN CHANGE THE SCENE!
A STARVING, PENNILESS AMERICAN DREAM!

“WE’RE TRYING TO WORK BESIDE YOU,
THOUGH: WE CAN’T STAND THE SIGHT OF YOU,
FIND SOMETHING NEW INSTEAD!
THOUGH YOU CAN’T EVEN LEAVE YOUR HOSPITAL BED…
MAYBE YOU’RE JUST BONE IDLE,
YOU WHINE THAT YOU’RE SUICIDAL,
MAYBE IT’S JUST BAD LUCK
BUT WE SURE DON’T GIVE A FUCK…

FIND SOMETHING NEW!
BEFORE WE COME TO FIND YOU
THEN YOU’RE FUCKED FOR LIFE
AMERICAN PARASITE

ARE YOU POUTING AND UNDER APPRECIATED?
OVERTURES UNHEARD AND UNDERRATED?
WELL WE CAN’T JUST SIT AND GIVE IT OUT FOR FREE!
THAT WOULD MEAN THERE’S NOTHING LEFT FOR ME!

FIND SOMETHING NEW!
BEFORE WE COME TO FIND YOU
THEN YOU’RE FUCKED FOR LIFE
AMERICAN PARASITE

WE’RE TRYING TO WORK BESIDE YOU,
THOUGH: WE CAN’T STAND THE SIGHT OF YOU,
FIND SOMETHING NEW INSTEAD!
THOUGH YOU CAN’T EVEN LEAVE YOUR HOSPITAL BED…
MAYBE YOU’RE JUST BONE IDLE,
YOU WHINE THAT YOU’RE SUICIDAL,
MAYBE IT’S JUST BAD LUCK
BUT WE SURE DON’T GIVE A FUCK….

Thursday, December 2, 2021

Omicron Days

Reaction to Covid’s latest strain has confirmed an unpalatable truth – while many embrace the idea of collaboration to fight the pandemic, they’re doing nothing tangible of any worth. Do we need an even greater crisis to rouse us?

 

We are all aware by now that the World Health Organization has declared a new variant of concern of Covid-19, named Omicron.

The new B.1.1.529 variant was first reported to the WHO in South Africa on November 24. It comes with more than 30 mutations and the suspicion is that it spreads much faster than other variants – including the Delta one – so it is uncertain if the vaccines we currently have will work against it.

The reaction all around the world was predictable: flights from southern Africa canceled, stocks plunging, and so on.

Isn’t it appalling that such defensive moves as travel bans were the strongest reaction in developed countries to the specter of a new disaster? As Dr. Richard Lessells, an infectious diseases specialist at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, South Africa, pointed out, “There was no word of support that they’re going to offer to African countries to help them control the pandemic and particularly no mention of addressing this vaccine inequity that we have been warning about all year and [of which] we are now seeing the consequences play out.”

The spread of the Omicron variant was facilitated by a triple scandalous neglect. Firstly, the virus is much more likely to mutate in places where vaccination is low and transmission high, so the huge gap between vaccination rates in the developed world and in the developing world is likely to blame. Some Western countries are even destroying vaccines whose date of usage has passed, rather than give them for free to countries with a lower vaccination rate.

Secondly, as was recorded in The Lancet in April, “Pharmaceutical companies have benefited greatly from huge sums of public funding for research and development: between US$2·2 billion and $4·1 billion (by Feb 1, 2021) were spent in Germany, the UK, and North America.” However, when the companies were solicited to allow free licensing of the vaccines, they all refused it, thus preventing many poorer countries – which couldn’t afford to pay the copyright price – from producing them.

Finally, even in the developed countries themselves, pandemic nationalism very quickly prevailed over a serious coordination of efforts.

In all three cases, the developed countries failed to pursue their own publicly proclaimed goals, and they are now paying the price. Like a boomerang, the catastrophe we tried to contain in the Third World has come back to haunt us. How?

Friedrich Jacobi, the German philosopher active around 1800, wrote: “La vérité en la repoussant, on l’embrasse,”– in repelling the truth, one embraces it. Examples of this paradox abound – say, the Enlightenment really won against traditional faith and authority when the partisans of traditional view began to use Enlightenment rational argumentation to justify their stance (a society needs firm unquestionable authority to enjoy a stable life etc.)

But does the same also hold the opposite way? Is it that in embracing the truth, one repels it? This is exactly what is happening today: ‘truth’ – the urgent need for global cooperation etc. – is repelled by publicly embracing the need for green action or collaboration in battling the pandemic, as was seen at the Glasgow COP26 conference, which was full of declarative blah blah but delivered very little in the way of precise obligations.

This mechanism was already described back in 1937 in ‘The Road To Wigan Pier’ by George Orwell, who deployed the ambiguity of the predominant leftist attitude toward the class difference: “We all rail against class-distinctions, but very few people seriously want to abolish them. Here you come upon the important fact that every revolutionary opinion draws part of its strength from a secret conviction that nothing can be changed. /…/ So long as it is merely a question of ameliorating the worker’s lot, every decent person is agreed. /…/ But unfortunately, you get no further by merely wishing class-distinctions away. More exactly, it is necessary to wish them away, but your wish has no efficacy unless you grasp what it involves. The fact that has got to be faced is that to abolish class-distinctions means abolishing a part of yourself. /…/ I have got to alter myself so completely that at the end I should hardly be recognizable as the same person.”

Orwell’s point is that radicals invoke the need for revolutionary change as a kind of superstitious token that should achieve the opposite – i.e. prevent the change from really occurring. Today’s academic leftists who criticize the capitalist cultural imperialism are, in reality, horrified at the idea that their field of study would break down.

And the same goes for our fight against the pandemic and global warming – a paraphrase of Orwell would be: “We all rail against global warming and the pandemic, but very few people seriously want to abolish them. So long as it is merely a question of ameliorating the lot of ordinary people, every decent person is agreed. But unfortunately, you get no further by merely wishing global warming and the pandemic away. More exactly, it is necessary to wish them away, but your wish has no efficacy unless you grasp what it involves. The fact that has got to be faced is that to abolish global warming and the pandemic means abolishing a part of yourself. Each of us will have to alter him/herself so completely that at the end s/he will hardly be recognizable as the same person.”

Is the reason for this inactivity simply the fear of losing one’s economic and other privileges? Things are more complex than that: the change that is required is double – subjective and objective.

The US philosopher Adrian Johnston characterized today’s geopolitical situation as one “in which the world’s societies and humanity as a whole are facing multiple acute crises (a global pandemic, environmental disasters, massive inequality, ballooning poverty, potentially devastating wars, etc.), yet seem unable to take the (admittedly radical or revolutionary) measures necessary to resolve these crises. We know things are broken. We know what needs fixing. We even sometimes have ideas about how to fix them. But, nevertheless, we keep doing nothing either to mend damage already done or to prevent further easily foreseeable damage.”

Where does this passivity come from? Our media often speculate which hidden motives make anti-vaxxers so adamantly persist in their stance, but as far as I know, they never evoke the most obvious reason: at some level, they want the pandemic to continue, and they know that refusing anti-pandemic measures will prolong it.

If this is the case, then the next question to be raised is: what makes the anti-vaxxers desire the continuation of the pandemic?

We should avoid here any pseudo-Freudian notions like some version of death-drive, of a wish to suffer and die. The idea that anti-vaxxers oppose anti-pandemic measures because they are not ready to sacrifice the Western liberal way of life, which for them is the only possible frame of freedom and dignity, is true, but not enough. We should add here a perverse enjoyment in the very renunciation to ordinary pleasures that the pandemic brings about. We should not underestimate the secret satisfaction provided by the passive life of depression and apathy, of just dragging on without a clear life project.

However, the change that is required is not just subjective, but a global social change. At the beginning of the pandemic, I wrote that the disease would deal a mortal blow to capitalism. I referred to the final scene of Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Kill Bill 2’ where Beatrix disables the evil Bill and strikes him with the ‘Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique’, the combination of five strikes with one’s fingertips to five different pressure points on the target’s body. After the target walks away and has taken five steps, their heart explodes in their body and they fall to the ground.

My point was that the coronavirus epidemic is a kind of ‘Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique’ attack on the global capitalist system – a signal that we cannot go on the way we have until now, that a radical change is needed.

Many people laughed at me afterwards: capitalism not only contained the crisis, but even exploited it to strengthen itself. I still think I was right, though. In the past few years, global capitalism has changed so radically that some (like Yanis Varoufakis or Jodi Dean) no longer call the new, emerging order capitalism, but corporate neo-feudalism. The pandemic gave a boost to this new corporate order, with new feudal lords like Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg increasingly controlling our common spaces of communication and exchange.

The pessimistic conclusion that imposes itself is that even stronger shocks and crises will be needed to awaken us. Neoliberal capitalism is already dying, so the forthcoming battle will not be the one between neoliberalism and what lies beyond, but the one between two forms of this aftermath: corporate neo-feudalism which promises protective bubbles against the threats – like Zuckerberg’s ‘metaverse’, bubbles in which we can continue to dream – and the rude awakening which will compel us to invent new forms of solidarity.

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Roland Barthes - Creating Myths through Second Order Significations


Nasrullah Mambrol, "Roland Barthes’ Concept of Mythologies"
Differing from the Saussurean view that the connection between the signifier and signified is arbitrary, Barthes argued that this connection, which is an act of signification, is the result of collective contract, and over a period of time, the connection becomes naturalised. In Mythologies (1957) Barthes undertook an ideological critique of various products of mass bourgeoise culture such as soap, advertisement, images of Rome, in an attempt to discover the “universal” nature behind this. Barthes considers myth as a mode of signification, a language that takes over reality. The structure of myth repeats the tridimensional pattern, in that myth is a second order signifying system with the sign of the first order signifying system as its signifier.

Myth is a type of speech defined more by its intention than its literal sense. Myth also has the character of making “itself look neutral and innocent” —it “naturalises the concept and transforms history into nature’. It deforms and dehistoricises the original connection between the signifier and the signified. The function of myth is to ’empty reality”, to establish a world “without depth” and to naturalise history. Thus the bourgeoise presents its own ideas and interests as those of the nation, or as universal.

Barthes illustrates the working of myth with the image of a young negro soldier saluting the French flag, that appeared on the cover of a Parisian magazine — where the denotation is that the French are militaristic, and the second order signification being that France is a great empire, and all her sons, irrespective of colour discrimination faithfully serve under her flag, and that all allegations of colonialism are false. Thus denotations serve the purpose of ideology, in naturalising all forms of oppression into what people think of as “common sense”. The most significant aspect of Barthes’ account of myth is his equation of the process of myth making with the process of bourgeoise ideologies.