Monday, July 23, 2007

Race, Gender, Class and 'Erection Guy'

Two wonderful articles in today's Guardian. Gary Younge points out that the left-liberal love affair with Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama is based on an inadequate 'identity-politics' understanding of progressive political struggle. Younge doesn't mention the 'c' word, but it's clear that's what he's getting at - US politics is the politics of capitalist democracy par excellence in that issues of class and structural economic inequalities have been almost completely excluded from the political frame of reference.

Charlie Brooker has produced what I think is one of his finest pieces so far. It's about the various personalities - 'Night Guy', 'Morning Guy', 'Booze Guy' and others - that jostle for control of his brain:

Most men have their own Night Guy, not to mention a Snack Guy, a Mindless Channel-Surfing Guy, a Lie-in Guy and several hundred Procrastinating Guys. We could be possessed by any one of them at any time. Worst of all is Erection Guy - the most goal-oriented, driven individual imaginable, prepared to do absolutely anything to achieve his aims. Erection Guy will lie, mislead, cajole, persuade and even beg if necessary. And the closer he gets to his objective, the more demented and demeaning he'll become - until the Mission Accomplished sign lights up, and he abruptly vanishes, leaving his owner back on Earth, blinking and somewhat embarrassed, like a volunteer in a stage hypnotist's act who's just been finger-clicked awake to discover they've been impersonating a chicken for the past 10 minutes. Erection Guy doesn't deal with the immediate aftermath. He never volunteers to go and get a bit of tissue. He simply goes back into hibernation, leaving you to make faintly disinterested small talk for a few minutes until Snooze Guy shows up to hammer your eyelids shut.

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