Sunday, August 7, 2011

Cher Lloyd and the Proletarianization of a Generation

A friend of mine wanted my two cents on this video by Cher Lloyd called "Swagger Jagger."

 I'd never heard of the artist or the song before, but my immediate impression was that it functions as an extended commercial for solipsistic marketing---i.e, hip hop tropes and electronic noises slapped together to appeal to confused adolescents with attention deficit problems---nothing you haven't seen before.

Here's what I had to say:

"I find it interesting that the first thing object displayed is a cell phone, because it works as a good analogy for describing what "swagger" and identity means in the context of this video.  "Swagger" here has a quality of built-in obsolescence to it that reflects the broader ideological milieu we're living in. 
Like technology (i.e. cell phones), swagger's not built to be durable, or even to be understood---it's always something you buy into until the "next" thing comes along. It's short-term and disposable. 
Like technology, swagger's not something you want or even desire---it's something you need or you'll be left behind in society, like owning a 10 year old cell phone that can't text. 
Like technology, it's designed to manipulate your senses and direct your attention towards a screen, which acts as a soplisistic mirror for defining yourself. 
But since the (culture and technological) industries control the means to this access to yourself, they literally and figuratively own the means to your identity and sense of worth. 
So when Cher Lloyd commands us to "get on the floor," "count our money," and "let it go," she really means it. She wants us to be complacent knowledge-less workers with only enough purchasing power to buy our fleeting sense of identity back from the very companies that liquidate any working sense of identity."

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