The Tourist #55


“One example is the fashionable iPhone, perhaps the key gadget among the ‘new petty bourgeoisie’, which comes with a wide-screen where one can scroll from one photo to another by touching each image on the screen.”

I am struggling to get the Marxist point here a bit. The link is between marxism and touching stuff?

Only the rich can touch stuff? Only the rich could touch the paintings because they owned them? But everyone else had to not touch them because too many people touching them would ruin them? So it was about preservation, then? Or just access at all? That the rich were able to touch art because they were, ever, anywhere near it?

So touching things was good and not touching things was shit. And now the petty bourgeoisie can touch stuff so that’s better than only the ultra rich touching at stuff? The lower middle classes can reach oot and touch stuff? Beauty and the special messages of things, that you can access by touching them? So now the rich and the somewhat poorer can touch stuff and feel better because the touching of the stuff was what gave us a special understanding of the stuff?

The really poor can’t touch stuff. They have least access to stuff. Yet most likelihood of needing meaningful stuff to be surrounded by in order that their deeply less enjoyable, more painful and shorter lives can be made more bearable?

Is art a cat? Can I touch it, and then be a success? Does it prove that I can afford to be near it whether or not I understand it? Is it that if I can touch at stuff I am therefore more likely also to be able to afford the time to learn about the unnecessary surrounding stuff which would give me access to the meaning/beauty/truth of the stuff which I can now touch?
Does this work in practice? Is there a difference in understanding and meaning derived from photographs, cultural objects of any sort based on money?

For the most part the people I know who are closest, in touching distance, of art, are the least likely to actually give two fucks about allowing the meaning of that art to impact their existence which is, for the most part, one of blithe, transitory ignorance and indifference. It is only when we cannot touch what we can see that we can see what there is to be seen, that we can understand that there is something which is untouchable? It is not that the rich have the benefit but not the necessity, it is rather that the poor, if they are to become free from the desire to change from slave to master, if they are to avoid the notion of mastery entirely which is the only way to be free, then all they have to do is to recognise that being able to touch something bears no relation to being able to understand its depth, beauty, charge, violence and truth.  Is the lesson to be learned, in order to allow us all to share wealth more equally, for the rich to be less pathetic, to understand that we do not have to touch something to be party to its power? Is this not the central message of any religion? Not to worry about touching God, understanding that she is there, even though she is fictional, will be enough to charge your vision with more beauty than you could ever consume?