Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Without Money, Phantasms- and Webb’s Zeros & Ones

As many of us know, Changing Lanes is a story of the collision of two lives: Dolye (Samuel L. Jackson), a recovering alcoholic, and Gavin (Ben Affleck), a devious lawyer. It is a great movie that should be watched during Lent (b/c it all happens on Good Friday, a bystander let us know right at the beginning).

anyway, after bankrupting Doyle, Gavin cans and says, “You are now a spirit without a body.” This is an amazing reversal of things. Usually we would equal our money with spiritual life (as in Marx’s analysis of the commodity), and our bodies are what is most real.

But here is made explicit the truth of our consumer society: that, forthe world our, financial corpus (our bank accounts, credit cards, pay-pals, assets) is our concrete, physical existence, while our actual flesh and bones is merely a wandering phantasm. A person without money is a restless spirit, coming and going aimlessly.

Just think of the homeless, the jobless, the orphans, and widowed. They are the ones our society knows not what to do with because they can’t be accounted for (or rather, their accounts can’t be counted). Those reduced to merely their bodies, their physical existence, become the ghouls that haunt the civilized world, because they do not have the support of bank accounts; they are feared like ghosts in fairy tales who look for bodies to inhabit.

I know its harsh, but I think it is true. Everything is reduced to Zeros and One.

What do you think? Are those without money merely souls with bodies?

Zeros & Ones

(vs. 1)
this was real
oh this was what you’ve all come to see and feel
but i’m starting to doubt my reality
‘cause it does not last long
once the cash is gone

eventually all of this must become zeros and ones
everything, everywhere, everyone, zeros and ones

(vs. 2)
i’m in love
oh i love what i can convince you of
‘cause i’m a prophet by trade
and a salesman by blood
now i’m dying just to be
a filtered, sub-cultural version of me


my blood is red
dripping on a page
if i’m brave enough to cut myself
but the more it sells
it thins my blood

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