Rabu, April 27, 2011

Our Leisure Class


There is a profession which hasn't the meaning of work, the celebrity. "My dream is being a celebrity." A beautiful young lady said. The television always tells that she is a celebrity so that she is being a celebrity.

The case is same as to be a humanist. That term is rather more aimed to describe the unreal world which is ideal, has everything, and no need to work. It is different for example from being a designer which means to make designs, being an insurance officer which has to serve clients who sometimes annoy, being a sweeper which means to sweep, and the others. Being a celebrity or other types of works which haven't work connotation is more dreamed.

Especially for a nation which skipped development phases of civilizations. You can imagine that without ushering in the enlightenment demonstrating intelligences and thought, and continued by industrial revolution promoting efficiency and utility, suddenly the nation enters the consumption era. So, who has opportunities to have everything without working can show off their wealth.

Whereas who hasn't opportunities only can sit down in front of the television, be stunned by highlights of the material objects, and wait for miracle to be rich unexpectedly. Everything must be glorious inasmuch as poor quality one will be liked. These are what should make critics accept the reason why almost our TV programs are crash.

The critique for that banal culture had long existed. Thorstein Veblen wrote a book, The Theory of the Leisure Class (First published in 1953), which became a reference to all who interested in educated class behaviors. In that book Veblen confirmed that his hidden meaning of the word leisure class is to waste time.

He tracked to the roots. As from ancient time, the birth of leisure class was coincided with the matter of the ownership in economic history. In the Dark Age, the ownership was begun with women, who generally were war booty. From the ownership of women, gradual evolution happened until the ownership of industrial productions.

We should see within contexts when Veblen wrote his book in that time. He was attracting his attention to the appearance of a new class in America, nouveau riche, which he thought that was not consistent in the need of modern society productivities. The new social class was the predator of luxurious things, and the high life style. So he used the term conspicuous leisure –low productivity–.

Those mentioned above are happening around us. The ruling class, whom we strongly doubt that they have high productivity, are showing off bluntly their worth. They have elegant clothes, dinner jackets notwithstanding in the tropical country, self-winding watches, and diamond rings. From whom we suspected strongly that he is a corruptor up to who was exposed as a corruptor, all of them show up on the television in luxury.

All of those are the very antithesis of productivities. The more you see the elegance of the leisure class; actually it means the more difficult life to people. As you know that bumpy roads are everywhere, schools are dilapidated, and the poverty of little people is reflected badly on their ghosts who appear in movie theaters. Kuntilanak lives in trees, pocong hides behind the hospital, jelangkung walks around everywhere because he hasn't enough costs.


Written by : Bre Redana
Source : Kompas
Edition : Minggu, 24 April 2011
Transtalor : HFZ

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