Consuming Youth: Vampires, Cyborgs, and the Culture of by Robert Latham

By Robert Latham

From the novels of Anne Rice to The misplaced Boys, from The Terminator to cyberpunk technological know-how fiction, vampires and cyborgs became strikingly noticeable figures inside American pop culture, specially early life tradition. In eating formative years, Rob Latham explains why, exhibiting how fiction, movie, and different media installation those ambiguous monsters to embrace and paintings in the course of the implications of a capitalist method during which early life either devour and are consumed.Inspired through Marx's use of the cyborg vampire as a metaphor for the objectification of actual exertions within the manufacturing facility, Latham exhibits how modern pictures of vampires and cyborgs remove darkness from the contradictory strategies of empowerment and exploitation that represent the youth-consumer method. whereas the vampire is a voracious client pushed by way of a starvation for perpetual formative years, the cyborg has integrated the machineries of intake into its personal flesh. strong fusions of know-how and wish, those paired pictures signify the kinds of hard work and relaxation that American society has staked out for modern youth.A startling examine adolescence in our time, eating early life will curiosity someone enthusiastic about movie, tv, and pop culture.

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Like wage labor in Marx’s analysis, ‘‘watching is formally free but practically compelled’’ (p. 188), and ‘‘the search for meaning [is] directed towards the marketplace as the only means of meaningfulfilment’’ (p. 204). Significantly for my youth-cultural focus here, the most highly perfected institutional form of this fetishized consciousness is, for Jhally, the Music Television Network (MTV): On MTV the ‘‘blurring’’ of the content between programs [use value] and advertising [exchange value] is complete on both the objective and subjective levels.

As I noted in my introduction, Marx’s concept of the vampire is basically the hideous animate corpse of central European folklore—‘‘dripping from head to toe, from every pore, with blood and dirt’’ 4—not the playful seducer of the literary tradition. What drives Marx’s vampire is pure and simple bloodlust, and its seeming amorousness is only a sham, a coy pretense that cannot disguise its exploitative aims. Given the miserable conditions under which the bulk of the industrial proletariat lived and worked during Marx’s time, these assumptions are unsurprising; one would surely be hard pressed to imagine the Victorian factory as a site of quasi-erotic courtship.

2 The desire Marx speaks of here is, then, only a parody of amorousness; in reality, it is gluttony transformed into tortured death throes. Through this sly allusion, Marx implies that capital’s uncontrollable lust for self-valorization will be its undoing, that the vampiric hunger of capital will culminate in a paroxysm of self-consuming destruction. The valiant proletarian cook will slay the demonic capitalist rat, thus freeing the forces of production to nourish truly human needs. Much of twentieth-century marxist thought has involved attempts to explain why this outcome was forestalled, why the vampire of capital has managed again and again to rise from the grave of economic crisis to pg 26 # 1 Name /C2005/C2005_CH01 01/14/02 06:33AM Plate # 0-Composite pg 27 # 2 youth fetishism 27 batten on the living.

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