Distribution Automatique

Thursday, March 4

"Well, let's put it this way: I have ideas, ideas that can be
turned into profits, and I have a way with things, of making
an idea concrete and giving it cash value. After my first big-
payoff inventions or discoveries, I didn't even need a way
with things; I got myself a staff. One invention led to another.
The money kept pouring in; it still does. All I really ever
needed was ideas, and I have never had a lack of those.

What is my secret? I start with myself. That's my first
million dollar idea. What would I really like? What do I
need? What would make my life better, even a little bit
better? What would I pay good money for? What would make
my life more comfortable and pleasurable?

There's a lecture I give, and I've given it all over the
country and in Europe, too, that I call 'How To Invent
Your Way To Big Money.' What I've just said is exactly
how I begin it every time. Usually I make people pay big
bucks for these words: I only speak to 20 people at a time
and I charge them each $1000 at least. My time is valuable
to me. I have to say, though, that most people just don't
get the message no matter how much they pay to hear
me speak. Most people are lumps. So you can quote me
for free. I figure that poor people might do better with my
secret to success than the rich ones."

"The Big Cheese" from *Hotel Death and other tales*
by John Perrault
Sun and Moon Press, Los Angeles, 1989


"Sometimes, you just have to bow down in awe. A person
comes up with an idea that no one has ever thought of, an
idea so simple and perfect that you wonder how the world ever
managed to survive without it. The suitcase with wheels, for
example. How could it have taken so long? For thirty thousand
years, we've been lugging our burdens around with us, sweating
and straining as we moved from one place to another, and the only
thing that's ever come of it is sore muscles, bad backs, exhaustion.
I mean, it's not as though we didn't have the wheel, is it? That's
what gets me. Why did we have to wait untiil the end of the
twentieth century for this gizmo to see the light of day?...I'm
telling your friend, things aren't so simple as they look. The human
spirit is a dull instrument, and often we're no better at figuring
out how to take care of ourselves than the lowest worm on the ground."

Paul Auster, *Timbuktu*, faber and faber, 1999


"Reports of air attacks are seldom without the names of the firms
which produced the planes: Focke-Wulff, Heinkel, Lancaster
feature where once the talk of of cuirrassiers, lancers and hussars.
The mechanism for reproducing life, for dominating and destroying
it, is exactly the same, and accordingly, industry, state, and
advertising are amalgamated. The old exaggeration of sceptical
Liberals, that war was a business, has come true: state power
has shred even the appearance of independence from particular
interests in profit; always in their service really, it now also places
itself there ideologically. Every laudatory mention of the chief
contractor in the destruction of cities, helps to earn it the
good name that will secure it the best commissions in their

"Out of The Firing Line," f rom *Minima Moralia* Thodore Adorno,
Verso,1978, translation by E.F.N. Jephcott


"As a focus of regression, mass culture assiduously concerns
itself with the production of those archetypes in whose survival
fascistic psychology perceives the most reliable means of perpetuating
the modern conditions of domination. Primeval symbols are constructed
on the production line. The dream industry does not so much fabricate
the drama of the customers as to introduce the dreams of the suppliers
among the people. This is the thousand-year empire of an industrial
caste system governed by a stream of never-ending dynasties. In the
dreams of those in charge of mummifying the world mass culture
represents a priestly hieroglyphic script which addresses its images to
those who have been subjugaged not in order that they might be
enjoyed but only that they be read...But the secret doctrine which is
communicated here is the message of capital. It must be secret because
total domination likes to keep itself invisible."

Theodore Adorno, *The Culture Industry*
Routledge, 1991

"The spectacular organisation of modern class society brings with it
two consequences recognisable everywhere: on the one hand, the
generalised falsification of products as well as of reasoning; on the
other, the obligation, for those who pretend to find their happiness
therein, of always maintaining themselves at a great distance from that
which they affect to love, for they never possess the means, whether
intellectual or otherwise, by which to accede to direct and profound
knowledge, a complete praxis and authentic taste.

What is already so apparent when it is a question of living conditions,
of wine, of cultural consumption or of the liberation of morals, should
be naturally only the more marked when it is a matter of revolutionary
theory, and of the redoubtable language which they attach to a
condemned world. this naive falsification and this incompetent approbation,
which are like the specific odour of the spectacle, have hardly failed to
illustrate the commentaries, variously imcomprehensible, which have
responded to the film entitled *The Society of the Spectacle*.

Incomprehension, in this case, imposes itself, for still a bit longer. The
spectacle is a poverty, even more than it is a conspiracy. And those who
write in the newspapers of our epoch have dissimulated nothing of their
intelligence from us. What could they say of pertinence concerning a film
which attacks them at the moment when they themselves begin to feel
themselves caving in in every detail. The debility of their reactions accompanies
the decadence of their world...One who looks at the poverty of their life
understands well the poverty of their discourse. It is enough to see
their set decorations and their occupations, their commodities and their
ceremonies; and that is spread out everywhere. It's enough to hear these
imbecilic voices which tell you that you have become alienated, as they inform
you of it with contempt, at every hour that passes.

Spectators do not find what they desire: they desire what they find."

Guy Debord *Society of the Spectacle and Other Films*
Rebel Press, London, 1992
"WILLY: Charley, I'm strapped. I'm strapped. I don't know
what to do. I was just fired.

CHARLEY: Howard fired you?

WILLY: That snotnose. Imagine that? I named him. I named
him Howard.

CHARLEY: Willy, when you gonna realize that them things
don't mean anything? You named him Howard, but you can't
sell that. The only thing you got in this world is what you can
sell. And the funny thing is that you're a salesman, and you
don't know that.

WILLY: I've always tried to think otherwise, I guess. I always
felt that if a man was impressive, and well liked, that nothing-

CHARLEY: Why must everybody like you? Who liked J.P. Morgan?
Was he impressive? In a Turkish bath he'd look like a butcher.
But with his pockets on he was very well liked. Now listen, Willy,
I know you don't like me, and nobody can say I'm in love with you,
but I'll give you a job because- just for the hell of it, put it that way.
Now what do you say?

WILLY: I- I just can't work for you, Charley.

CHARLEY: What're you, jealous of me?

WILLY: I can't work for you, that's all, don't ask me why.

CHARLEY, *angered, takes out more bills*:You've been
jealous of me all your life, you damned fool. Here, pay
your insurance. *He puts the money in Willy's hand*

WILLY: I'm keeping strict accounts.

CHARLEY: I've got some work to do. Take care of
yourself. And pay your insurance.

WILLY, *moving to the right: Funny, y'know? After
all the highways and the trains, and the appointments,
and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive."

from *Death of A Salesman*
Arthur Miller
Viking, NY 1949