Posts filed under 'google'

Spectacle Shopping

"They will wear the product and talk about it (and to it) incessantly. They will buy another one next year."

Black Friday is not only a chaotic holiday for shoppers, but it is also an extremely exciting time for those in the media to represent the spectacle of this chaos to the public. The public then consumes this content at face-value, continuing the chaos online and in their homes. In light of Black Friday’s “festivities,” Guy Debord’s Society of Spectacle shone out to me as a great way to explain it. It’s not really a phenomenon, but an obsession in a society that perhaps values the commodity more than other areas. This personal essay explores the parallels I have seen between Black Friday and Guy Debord’s writing.

All citations are from Guy Debord in his work La Société du spectacle (Paris: Buchet-Chastel, 1967). Translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith (New York: Zone Books, 1994).


“The world the spectacle holds up to view is at once here and elsewhere; it is the world of the commodity ruling over all lived experience. The commodity world is thus shown as it really is, for its logic is one with men’s estrangement from one another and from the sum total of what they produce.”

I’m a Search Engine Optimization Specialist in French and in English for a marketing company in Detroit. I like to say that I fix the Internet for a living, while getting to implement my French Literature degree. The reality is that I put the right words in the right places, and if the search engine algorithms take kindly to them, these words will rank better on Google. I describe it to my college advisor as, “writing French and English prose poems about the Chevrolet Silverado.”

I celebrate my anniversary at the company in November. My manager congratulates me. She was worried I wouldn’t make it this long, away from my family and friends in New York, in a field that isn’t as creative as one might hope. (Conversations with my manager include, “No Allegra, you can’t say that the Chevrolet Malibu is ‘making waves in Ottawa.’ I don’t think Canadians even know what Malibu Beach is.”) READ MORE…

Weekly News Roundup, 23 October 2015: Goog, Good Books

This week's literary highlights, lowlights, and mid-lights from across the world.

Hey, happy Friday! First, brilliant news we’re bursting to tell: The Guardian has just announced their brand-new “books network,” and Asymptote is one of eleven launch partners thus formalized—we’re extra chuffed to be the only one dedicated to world literature! The partnership will see content from both our quarterly and blog shared with The Guardian‘s vast international readership up to eight times a month (all the better to catalyze the transmission of world literature, we say); watch for the very first Asymptote article on this space next Tuesday.

This week, we noted technological inroads into the way we read: giant love-em-or-hate-em behemoth Google won a big fair use lawsuit—and its massive Internet-library project means literally billions of books are set to be scanned for your onscreen perusal. And upon the announcement that the New York Times will partner with Google to provide perusal-via-virtual reality: the future is now.

Speaking of archives—but of the decidedly more old-fashioned kind: Colombian literary giant Gabriel García Márquez’s archive is openly available for research at the University of Texas’ Harry Ransom Center.  READ MORE…

Weekly News Roundup, 3rd October 2014: Bad Beginnings, But Is this the Year for Murakami?

This week's literary highlights from across the world

Beginning the weekly roundup is often, well, awkward. But I’d like to think my overtures are not quite as cringe-inducing as these ten worst openers in (English-language) literature.

On that note, if you feel like clicking away from this post to go do something more “productive,” don’t abandon your procrastination so quickly—it turns out the oft-reviled quality of procrastination isn’t so bad for you after all. Speaking of putting things off, while I personally didn’t study for the math portion of my GRE, I passed with (relatively) flying colors. Wonder why, but habits of polyglottism may have something to do with itREAD MORE…