Hedonism, Inc

By skepticlawyer

More than one commentator over many years has made the point that the liberal choice architecture of capitalist societies is actually incompatible with capitalism itself: getting up on Monday morning to do one’s work for The Man involves not getting so wasted on the weekend that capitalist acts between consenting adults become impossible once the working week starts.

Maybe the intellectual history of ‘creative destruction’ has something useful to say here. On the other hand, maybe not. Britney Spears does have something useful to say in this clip, which is arch and witty in a tradition as old as Catullus, but visually explosive in the same way as much of the best of modernity. Its riff on the public and private distinction: ‘this is what I do with the privacy afforded me by my property, but this is what I show the public’ is especially arresting.

Just a warning: this is a cleaned up version of the clip, but it’s still pretty raunchy. If you’re worried that raunch (in its fairly unalloyed pornographic sense) will make your life harder to bear, then don’t watch it.

11 Comments

  1. Posted April 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Are you thinking of Aemilius, Gellius, Caesar, the delightful Lesbia, the bitch Lesbia, the sparrow hopping down the road to Hades, or when asked to put money towards an orgy, “my purse is empty of all but cobwebs”?

  2. Posted April 30, 2009 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    He really did invent the whole genre of romantic love as a devastating unhappy happiness, didn’t he? Apart from the fact that Clodia Metelli really ran him round the houses (she probably did this to a few guys, it’s just he wrote about it so very well).

  3. Lang Mack
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    Am I allowed to watch the non-cleaned up clip?
    I’m sixty four..

  4. Posted April 30, 2009 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    [email protected]

    He really did invent the whole genre of romantic love as a devastating unhappy happiness, didn’t he?

    “The words a woman whispers to her lover, are fit to be writ only on wind and water”… heavily jilted yep, which maybe explains the turn of “and with a nod to Venus, made a third”

    she probably did this to a few guys

    Unsurprising that a lawyer would take the view of Cicero! But then, I’m certainly not a fan of her brother the Odious Clodius either, who may, just may, have been considered one of those males given the runaround. (What would modern gossip rags do if modern celebs were as bad as some of those ancients? And are we classicist types any better than modern rag readers simply because our gossip is over a thousand years old? Mind you, Cicero got his head cut off and his tongue nailed up in the centre of Rome for what he had to say about Marc Antony’s cross-dressing et al, so modern defamation proceedings look pretty mild)

    “Lang [email protected]
    Catullus at his most obscene was probably raunchier most if not all SBS shows (I’m pushing 50, and many of the translations available to us left the juicier bits in the original Latin so we wouldn’t be corrupted). Now at 64, you were probably getting a giggle from Tom Lehrer’s SMUT when first released, and maybe read some Nabokhov which probably wouldn’t get published these days.

  5. Lang Mack
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    “Lang [email protected]?
    Catullus at his most obscene was probably raunchier most if not all SBS shows (I’m pushing 50, and many of the translations available to us left the juicier bits in the original Latin so we wouldn’t be corrupted). Now at 64, you were probably getting a giggle from Tom Lehrer’s SMUT when first released, and maybe read some Nabokhov which probably wouldn’t get published these days.
    Dave Bath, thanks for the hints, Capt.W.E. Johns was an adventure, James Fenimore Cooper, Bob Ellis, O.Henry, Ambrose Bierce , ,Anne Desclos , the Bible(Ok haven’t read it but has been recommended on numerous occasions, that makes me ponder on why a novel could outsell Britney, still I guess a thumper could occasion that), Robert G Barrett. So little time left, so much to avoid.Like assumption.

  6. Posted April 30, 2009 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    The unedited clip features some actual nudity in the ‘morning after the night before’ orgy scene at the beginning. Otherwise they’re identical. All very Catullan, especially the bloke stretched out on the floor in the middle of a great deal of frilly underwear and a half-consumed bottle of booze.

  7. Lang Mack
    Posted April 30, 2009 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    DeusExMacintosh:
    I’ll try droll dry satire and humor, raillery.
    Maybe just reply with “why”.

  8. Posey
    Posted May 1, 2009 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    Oh I’m sure that’s true. LE. The Romans were such vulgarians.

  9. Posey
    Posted May 1, 2009 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    It’s strange to think of Catullus as having my feelings without my background. He’d hardly read anything, not a line of the Romantic poets or Shakespeare,

    didn’t even know English, which is almost a prerequisite for a poet whose subject is me. Somehow he managed, in spite of these classical failings, to blunder into our song

    G.T. Wright ‘On Translating Catullus’ Centennial Review 19 (1975), 74

  10. Posted May 3, 2009 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    What’s interesting about Britney Spears is that she’s marketed sexuality. First she poses as a virgin. The rhetoric and the, not sure the word, aura of the business connoted some pre-Christian paganism. Now she’s gone around full circle to this conservative backlash after a Dionysian flip. I wonder how much of it is actually real?

    Well the kids appear to be real.

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