(All quotes by Marx and Billy Squier)
A commodity appears at first sight an extremely obvious, trivial thing. But its analysis brings out that it is a very strange thing, abounding in metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties.
All social rules and all relations between individuals are eroded by a cash economy; avarice drags Pluto himself out of the bowels of the earth.
Margaret’s husband Robert liked his moustache stroked. But Margaret often stroked it too much, for too long. He rather liked having his moustache stroked throughout the day, rather than all at once. He felt it was a little odd for her neediness to manifest itself so. He felt it took too much time out of his day. The time spent was not quality time. It was, daresay, putting-up-with time. Oh! Why must he deal with Margaret’s incessant stroke? It could last for hours upon hours. He had to spend almost as much time combing it out from the knots she’d rubbed in. Fingers twirling this way and that.
His moustache comb was bought on a whim in London for quite a hefty price years before. At that point, Robert didn’t even have a moustache. He only grew one later. At the insistence of Margaret. He quickly became very fond of it. He loved the stately air that it imparted upon him. Before the moustache, he was quite introverted in drawing rooms. Post growth, he was the life of drawing rooms.
The stroke was one of the few things that kept him going on. He can’t go on. He’ll go on. Moustache stroked or not. Margaret or not.
We should not say that one man’s hour is worth another man’s hour, but rather that one man during an hour is worth just as much as another man during an hour. Time is everything, man is nothing: he is at the most time’s carcass.
Now everybody / Have you heard / If you’re in the game / Then the stroke’s the word
Every individual capital forms, however, but an individualised fraction, a fraction endowed with individual life, as it were, of the aggregate social capital, just as every individual capitalist is but an individual element of the capitalist class.
Robert was very happy with Margarets appearance. And style.
Even with a stroking wife (however needy) Robert was not happy and often contemplated suicide. Not just on Mondays. He was an industrialist. He had to work during the week. But he didn’t industrialize much. He was often despondent. He felt he had no grounding. He felt airy.
Life isn’t easy from the singular side/ Down in the hole, some emotions are hard to hide.
Robert, the bourgeois industrialist, hated his job. Like, really hated his job. He was, of course, happy that he had weekends but he felt uncomfortable about it. He was rarely sober. He did not want to face up to real life.
You can’t escape the hours, you lose track of the days / The more you understand, seems the more like you do/ You never get away–everybody wants you.
Robert was very unhealthy. Partly because Margaret couldn’t cook very well, and, so, he was poisoned bit by bit from the arsenic that she carelessly sprinkled on his nightly undercooked or overcooked steak. And partly because he ate many midnight snacks, mostly consisting of a lard base: lard on toast, lard on tortillas, lard on crackers, lard on rice cakes. He was also very stressed. What was it that made him eat the lard? The only practical answer is that he must be deficient in some vitamin or essential element, so he believed. He also often believed he needed to go on a cleanse. Out with the bad. In with the good.
Actually, Robert was very, very unhappy. Robert became a loaf. He didn’t want to work anymore. He didn’t want to do anything anymore. He became less than human. Both he and Margaret cared for nothing anymore.
Lonely is the night when you find yourself alone/ Your demons come to light and your mind is not your own.
History is the judge–its executioner, the proletarian.
Aizlyn B is an Economics professor. She will be teaching a summer term class on the production value and economics of free e-cards. Syllabus topics include: labor pricing as a function of workplace internet use devoted to sending free e-cards, LIBOR rate fluctuations due to one’s despair at not receiving an e-card when everyone else in the office is receiving one or being forwarded something quite funny (or, conversely, getting an e-card, only to realize that it is a joke e-card poking fun at your despair), and commodities futures speculation based on upwardly trending most popular e-cards. She lives in NYC.