13 February 2008

The pleasureable performance of "have"

"The less appetizing the vagabond’s fate, the more savoury are the tourist’s peregrinations. " (Zygmunt Bauman, 1998, p. 98)
What a perfect comment on a profound reality this cartoon is: the "haves" want constantly to be reminded (not necessarily shown) what the "have nots" have not. Any pleasure to be had from privilege must, it seems, be always predicated on the knowledge that others are not privileged. While I'm sure reasons of security would be furnished if you asked, it is this principle which undoubtedly explains those flimsy curtains pulled haphazardly across the aisle to separate first-class passengers from business-class passengers from economy-class passengers. On newer Airbus-designed planes, these class dividers are nowadays made with see-through fabric. Anything more substantial, anything less opaque would be detrimental to the pleasurable performance of privilege. I promise this is motivated not only by my souring, shrivelled grapes, but I've often felt that the clinking of glassware and the tinkling of cutlery which comes from beyond the curtain is a deliberate ploy to achieve the same effect.

Bauman, Zygmunt. (1998). Globalization: The Human Consquences. Cambridge: Polity Press.

No comments: