Charisma

Bit tired, but now working on the sixth chapter where I outline how enthusiasm becomes a resource. Tom Wolfe:

[The ‘Detroit’] manufacturers may be well on the way to routinizing the charisma, as Max Weber used to say, which is to say, bringing the whole field into a nice, safe, vinyl-glamorous marketable ball of polyethylene.

Wolfe was wrong. ‘Detroit’ did build ‘plastic’ cars eventually, but first they built the ‘muscle car’. Antonio Negri and Michael Hardt suggest that a “Neo-Weberian perspective” is useful for engaging with a “rationality defined by the ‘event’ and ‘charisma’”. This functionalist approach takes as its object the “biopolitical economic and institutional system” of ‘Empire’. The biopolitical relation between enthusiasm and biopower is key to understanding the function of enthusiast media in mobilising enthusiasts, not in a negative sense, but through enabling the production of cultural events so as to modulate the event of enthusiasm. By modulating the event of enthusiasm to accentuate certain affects over others the cultural industry transforms the enthusiasm of a given population of enthusiasts into a resource.

The closest I have found to the postion developed in this chapter is actually Ken Wark’s work on celebrity. Forget celebrity being an actual person, what Wark talks about is the celebrity as image that circulates across a number of registers as a vector. The relations between this image-vector and the registers of circulation are determined by the ’emotional’ congruence of discrete audience segments with their reading of the ‘image’. Audiences become suspended within the affective relations organised around the ‘image’ catalyzer.

Now, imagine a social structure determined by the circulation of such an image, yet the audience also producers the object-image. Secondly, imagine that the various members of this population are competing to build or create a different image-objects. The media apparatus therefore has to pursue the continually differentiating object-images produced by the population and circulate an image-vector that correlates with the shifting affective topography of the audience. The media apparatus does this by modulating the affective relations formed between the audience-producer population and the image-objects, not only through the media by selecting various image-objects to transform into image-vectors, but through the production of cultural events where the population and image-objects are located in direct relation to each other. The population and image-object-vectors are organised by durable affective relations; yet, the pursuit of different image-objects firstly by the producers, the by the media, then the circualtion of these image-objects as vectors, produces a pattern of an iterative spiral. By modulating the differential repetition of affective relations within cultural events, the cultural industry guides the affective composition of relations.

Within modified-car culture the ‘image-object’ is called a ‘head turner’. The population of audience-producers are the enthusiasts. The media and cultural industry are primarily the magazines and event promoters. The cultural events are primarily car shows and festivals.

EDIT: Damn, how tired was I when I wrote this. lol