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Destruction of Meaning by [Hardy, Simon]
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Destruction of Meaning Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Length: 84 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 658 KB
  • Print Length: 84 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00ED2JUFC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #620,505 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Simon Hardy's long essay The Destruction of Meaning is a welcome contribution to a Marxist analysis of media and communication. Presented in engaging, accessible and enjoyable prose, Hardy's argument rests on the Confucian claim that when language loses its meaning, people lose their freedom. This presents serious trouble for a critical public. On the one hand, as Hardy claims, it leads to a growing 'irrationalism' across the globe as 'public opinion' (itself a dubious construction) increasingly supports a right-wing agenda that would seemingly harm its own interests. On the other, it relies on a new neoliberal world-view that this is an age beyond ideology and politics, where in our economic meritocracies, politicians act in the interests of only the hard-working and deserving. In such a wilful irrationalism, welfare, immigration or labour rights are framed only in emotive terms of 'toughness' and 'fairness' – shifting the debate from causes, interests and the common good to more simply how voters should 'feel' and emotionally relate to certain, selective, heroes and villains. How can a serious understanding or discussion of political debates and events occur when there is, from the outset, a total falsification or distortion of their meanings by media outlets and political discourses?

The analysis is timely and persuasive, and insightful reading for activists, cynics and those disorientated by what's presented as current affairs. I won't summarise the argument: the essay itself can do that, and is easily digested in one or two readings. But it introduces a broader problem about how political discourses are framed to which its target audience on the Left should brew over more broadly.
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Hardy puts together a smart and engaging thesis summarising the progressive erosion of meaning in western society and how this undermines our ability to discuss analyse its own political situation. A very well written piece that is both intelligent and academic whilst being above all clear and readable.
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This is an interesting piece that fits well with another piece by the author (and Luke Cooper) "Beyond Capitalism" and Mark Fisher's "Capitalist Realism". Like these other two texts it ties together a mixture of popular culture, political philosophy and recent historical changes to illustrate a picture of society today. In doing so it provides a thought out and compelling argument that ties together various strands of the post political.

If I were to make a criticism of the piece it's that whilst the breadth of coverage of culture and ideas makes for an enjoyable read and helps to show the diverse ways in which the author's argument can be seen it would be interesting if some of the cultural and political phenomena as well as the theories discussed were covered in more depth - though I'm sure this is a future project.
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This book offers a great insight into today's lack of political meaning in general social, but also in political discourse. It discusses the idea that we live in an 'apolitical' society, where the spectacle is more valued than the truth. A perfect introduction to day-to-day political and philosophical concepts and posing pertinent questions about the the world we live in today.
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