Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Mind Numbing Muppet: Neil Boorman The Brand Burner

Presenting the sixth in a series of Mind Numbing Muppets - a Soundtracksforthem response from the underbelly of the keyboard to the kaleidoscope of dazzlingly silly cahnts who impose themselves on us via their access to the media.

Number 6: Neil Boorman

A one time DJ ( 1 ) and music critic, Neil Boorman has raised the eye of the English press this week with his promise to burn all the brands in his possession in some bewildering act of randomness against the over-riding power of brand culture. For a man well into his thirties he's of that rather odd vintage that suffers from some sort of irony deficiency in believing music should be 'difficult for adults to understand.' It is exactly this sort of pathological desire to offend in an attention grabbing 'fuck you I won't clean up my bed-room' act of childish spite that earns him our catty contempt and that grand aul Dublin title of muppet.

Naomi Klein used brands as a point of departure for developing a popular and well needed critique of post-Fordist capitalism. But the gap between his confused and obviously pampered view of how to shop our way out of a particular set of social relations and the No Logo exposition is never made clearer than on his blog. Full of guff about acclimatising to the process of wearing non-branded runners, in his world the options are between Dunne Store's knock off high-tops and Converse originals. He admits to 'travelling to Hong Kong to get some items of clothing copied (non-branded naturally)' without ever questioning the systematic sets of power relations that have led to this warped priveliging of the commodity.

He almost admits being the living incarnation of Nathan Barley, with several collapsed efforts at publishing loud mouth chic London style magazines, brazenly shallow he describes having no interest in his current partner ' had she not been working for a very important contemporary art gallery'. You can be sure someone will give him a quirky column writing an 'anti-fashion' fashion column or even better designing summer wear for Pennys. At the rate vintage clothing is selling these days, he should have no problems dressing like the pretentious knob he is just in time for the latest Marc Jacob's grunge revival.

He likens himself to Cayce from William Gibson's Pattern Recognition ( 1 ). A 'cool-hunter' character who becomes violently ill at the sight of particular company emblems. If he does share a similarity to her, it is far from sharing a post-modern neurosis to the ever lingering logo imprints of hegemonic brands, and more in his own ability to hunt out underground cultures such as subvertising. Then strip them of their depth and ideological worth to pimp them out like sullied street walkers with a simple and crass message to earn a few fleeting moments of press to sell his up-coming book. Neil Boorman is a man no longer content with writing the art and culture features, now he wants to graduate into being the actual focus of the cultural supplements.

What you have here is a rather grandiose dose of liberal bourgeois. When history looks back it will not see a brave soul raising the deep ethical questions that haunt late capitalism. Instead it will see a pampered rich little bitch that has foregrounded his own individuality through yet more consumer choices rather than pushing for critiques of the system grounded in developing social solidarities. Bending the corporate semiotics to subversion you ain't mate, now hand over those Addidas Super Star before I set the dogs on you.

Related: No Logo Documentary: Naomi Klien lucidly explains the deepening of consumption as part of an overall capitalistic project The Century of the Self: a documentary by Adam Curtis examining how those in power have used Freud's pessimistic theories of human nature in order to demobilise democracies, instead deflecting our inner needs away from social solidarity to consumerism.

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No you're the muppet - you can't even spell his name! I think it's a bit high and mighty of you to criticise someone for having unsuccessful publishing ventures, but then what would a blogger know about the real publishing world anyway?
A very eloquent response there from little miss anonymous in Cork. Do you have anything substantial to add at all to discussion, apart from trying to provoke a playground spate that revolves around accusations of illiteracy?

Feel obliged to apply for a sub editing job on our blog. We don't expect much, just for you to run your finger tips to the bone typing up tapes of long drunken rants. After picking your bone splinters from in between the keyboard, you will be allowed an apple a day and some hours doss in a coal shed.

Oh and please, take it easy peppering your posts with the old exclamation mark. We like to thing this blog is above a common super market sale, even if your posts do lower the tone of it.
Great article. This whole "project" by Boorman makes me cringe. Strange thing is a lot of people out there seem to think he is some sort of prophet for the modern age, at least judging by the comments on his blog. Anyway he inspired me to start a new category on my blog "Hypocrite of the Week" on my blog.
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