Though the sharing economy appropriates a language of progressive change and collectivity (e.g., “collaborative consumption”) to proselytize for their apps and business models, their effect is to more thoroughly atomize individuals, demanding that they regard themselves as a kind of small enterprise while reducing their social usefulness to the spare capacity they can mobilize for the platforms to broker. Users are asked to scour their lives for marketable time and resources, performing labor that the sharing-economy companies organize and expropriate.
- Rob Horning
- deregulation by technology, evading the political process
- renders services generic, leading to deskilling
- prevents workers from recognizing class interests by isolating them and forcing them to operate as small enterprises
- forces workers to provide the capital assets and assume responsibility for their depreciation
- forces economies of scale onto unscalable social relations like "trust," thereby corrupting them, extinguishing them
- creates monopolization at the level of the platform, but forces service providers/workers to compete against each other more ruthlessly
- encourage reliance on reputation systems as alternative to regulation, which demands a de facto vigilantism to have norms enforced
Like capitalism, consumerism has proven adept at assimilating critiques and adapting to them. In so doing, it cuts away the ground underneath the complainers who don’t appreciate its dynamism. When complaints arose that mass markets forced a stultifying conformity on consumers, the market responded with brand campaigns organized around an ethos of individualism, offering superficial options for customization to appease the desire for distinction.
When critics argued that acquiring goods didn’t necessarily lead to lasting happiness and that accumulation of stuff merely puts us on a hedonic treadmill, marketers like Paco Underhill began to emphasize shopping “experiences,” a bit of rhetorical prestidigitation whereby consumer items became souvenirs of promised states of feeling rather than their source. When the problem was with homogenizing brands and the eradication of mom-and-pop stores, corporations rolled out ersatz small brands and adopted old-timey packaging design to recall the heyday of regional businesses.
When social theorists complained about the hollowness of leisure time predominantly spent consuming and collecting goods, consumption began to be represented in marketing discourse as a creative form of meaning production, with consumers as “co-creators,” using products inventively in off-label ways to enrich their unique identity. When ecological concerns began to be voiced more loudly, the market responded with recyclable packaging and “green” products that offer a moral alibi for our consumer behavior and let us continue our love affair with packaging.
It is a fact of marketing that brands can’t ask for business too directly. People tend to recoil from requests that feel too direct, and this is why social-media accounts explicitly selling anything seem like spam, triggering disinterest. Brands have to make us want them by giving us something: in branding terms, providing #value. This is how humor, or the gift of laughs, becomes the universal gift that any Twitter account can provide to its followers, as #weirdtwitter proved in its universe of thousands of anonymous accounts tweeting nonsensical humor at each other.
For us, there is a sociopathic freedom in knowing there is no individual behind the Twitter account. The corporation will not reach out for support in hard times the way an individual person on Twitter may. Laughing with it doesn’t trigger an existential fear that we might be relied on for support, sending vibes or crowdfunds during @dennysdiner’s darkest emotional hour.
As I mentioned earlier I picked up the movie Star-Lord and Gamora recently. I already had Comic versions of Rocket and Drax, so I didn't see the need to rebuy those figures.
That put me in a quandary though, Groot, the 5th member of the team is a build-a-figure (one piece comes with each figure in the wave). And I only wanted to by two of the sixth figures, although, I'll likely pick up Nova at some point, but that's still only 3 pieces and only half the pieces to make Groot.
So I decided to sculpt my own Groot in Sculptris and then print him on my Solidoodle 3D printer.
I printed him in two pieces (Really 4 really you count the arms separate) and glued him together. He had a couple little places I had to fix with some Sculpty putty. I spray painted him brown and did a little bit of model paint on him.
While he's not quite a store bought figure, I think he came out well enough to display on the shelf with the rest of the team. Below are some more photos.
Oddly there is a line through the top of the throne (that wasn't on the model itself), but given the subtly of the detail, it didn't come out too bad.
I would have sat Jon Snow or Daenerys Targaryen in the throne, but Jon's rubber cape and Danenerys skirt do not allow them to sit. So it looks like Tyrion gets to rule all of Westeros!
And for fun, here's the Eleventh Doctor on the throne flanked by Weeping Angels I printed last year.
I discovered this nice little minature diorama model on Thingiverse a little while ago and printed it last week.
It has a nice little circular center that holds the base of a Heroclix miniature dial just perfectly.
The same uploader has another miniature diorama model model that I'll probably try printing later too.
The Build-A-Figure for this wave is Groot. To complete Groot, I'd have to buy Movie Drax, Movie Rocket, Nova and Space Iron Man. At the moment I do not intend to buy all 4 of those additional figures (although I'll likely pick up Nova.). I'm ok with the Comic Drax and Comic Rocket I already have.
Besides, a tall plant character is a tall plant character right? I could have Swamp Thing fill in for Groot like at right? ;)
Actually, unless I find a good deal on an assembled Groot, or there is an alternate toy that comes out that works with the others scale, I may try my hand at sculpting him either digitally and 3D Printing, or with sculpty. We'll see.
Drax and Rocket Raccoon are comic based versions of the characters that were in earlier Marvel Legends waves.
I'm pretty happy with the whole foursome, although the verdict is still out on Movie Gamora or the more Flamboyant 70s Marvel comic cosmic styled Gamora. I'll wait and see the movie first on making that call.
Star Lord and Gamora are both very nice figures though. Star Lord especially comes with a bunch of accessories and a helmetless headswap, but I imagine I'll keep the masked one up for display.
Normally I like to see a movie first before getting the figures, but based on the one trailer I've watched, the movie looks like it will be a blast and these seem like pretty safe additions to the collection.
Only two more months until Guardians of the Galaxy the Movie is out!
I learned thru social media today that it was National Donut Day, so I decided since it was a beautiful Friday that I would finally drive out to Clarkesville to see Chris Scheil's The Daily Donut Shop. I had a very nice visit with him in between his taking care of customers. I also had a very nice donut (and brought back a dozen for the weekend). Chris and I used to work together years ago and it was nice catching up. If you find yourself out on i96, make sure you get off on Exit 59 and take a short jog into town, and grab a donut and sit for a bit. He's got a nice little shop there and if it's not too busy, I promise you'll enjoy the conversation too.
+ Jenn's Blog
+ Adam and Comfort
The Adventures and Illustrations of a Husband and Wife Comic Artist Duo.