a) Personal updates: week in review
b) A humour section, I guess?
c) Reflections on 1962 Soviet stop motion animation “Bathhouse”
Running almost on full capacity this week and going through lots of stress while doing so. This edition is shorter as a consequence of this busy week.
Freaked out after finding out my neighbour has been putting bread and other cooked foods in the compost. I currently don’t have the money to fix the damage she’s done (I would charge her if I had the courage to engage in this type of conflict), so I decided to determine that the compost is closed until further notice. It’s going to take me a good three weeks before I have time to clean, reorganise and refill it.
Acquired a pair of crocs to use outside. Yes I’m one of those “I know they’re ugly, but they’re so comfortable” type of people. After using crocs strictly inside the house for about 7 months I decided It was time to let go of my fashion principles and get a pair to use outside. Feedback on this huge fashion step: “Don’t say it’s a style and don’t say you’re pulling it off” – my husband.
My skin is currently at war against me. I’m having lots of inflammation and decided to bring back Neogen’s Probiotic Serum. The heat is making my skin heavy with the weight of the serums and moisturisers. I honestly don’t feel like investing in any new products at the moment, so I will try to use the products I already have. Something tells me retiring all the other serums and just applying Weleda’s Skin Food Light is the way to go. I will update my skincare kinopio accordingly.
The Kinopio Guide on my skincare space is out! It is a huge honour to have the opportunity to write a Kinopio Guide since Kinopio is one of my alltime favourite platforms..
As I have previously mentioned, I’ve been very busy during the last two weeks 🐝. I didn’t have time to write the second part of the essay about centralised social media platforms because that requires a lot of organisation, research, and reviewing - but I had time to dive into some humorous writing.
I’ve finally decided to dip my toes into the world of entrepreneurship after a very hot and humid week where I got some very painful underboob rashes. I feel like the struggles of underboob sweat and rashes are generally overlooked in society, especially now that the trend (for cis women) is to have smaller breasts. With those struggles and questions in mind, I gathered a great team of top innovators and disruptors and launched my own startup BOOB U.
Boob U is dedicated to developing solutions that cater to people with larger breast sizes. The world belongs to people who don’t have to struggle with underboob rashes in the summer, and by offering a range of innovative products we will empower large boob owners to live their lives to the fullest, even under the hottest and most humid of weathers.
Our first line of products has already been developed:
Our cheapest product. It uses the strength of birds to hold the breasts. Even though it is not a vegan option, all birds are raised ethically, and we encourage the use of endangered species in order to proliferate the demand for their procriation.
Part of our vegan product line. It also works as a posture optimiser, great for people who have been struggling with bad home office chairs..
An underboob cooling gel pad that uses aloe vera and centella asiatica extracts. Since one of our core principles at Boob U is ecological sustainability, our cooling gel pad has a rechargeable solar powered battery.
I hope you’re as excited as I am about Boob U and all the amazing products we are developing to tackle some of contemporary society’s main issues. Please share our project with possible investors.
Early this week, I stumbled upon this twitter account dedicated to posting gifs and short videos of Eastern European cartoons. Now, besides the fact that my communist phase is lost in the past, I’m still fascinated by the communist mindset. Taking that into consideration, I decided to watch the animated film Bathhouse, from 1962, that was inspired by the homonymous play by Vladimir Mayakovsky.
Speaking of style, the stop motion technique is used with great creative freedom and results in an engaging and visually fascinating renderisation of the story. It’s rich in textures, colours, and resources. Ultimately, it was a very visually inspiring experience. Plotwise, it is quite funny and I had some good laughs despite the bad translation
But the most interesting take I got from watching Bathhouse was the ability to understand the frustration the Soviets were going through dealing with their government. The bureaucrat characters are though-headed, ignorant, hypocritical, and benefit from the hierarchy of the system, while workers never get the opportunity to beat this stupidly complex hierarchy in order to make changes or demands.
To speak in superficial terms: Capitalism is, at the end of the day, a perspective from which we reality. It determines how we interact and understand the world around us through its consumerist logic.
Being raised in a capitalist society makes us understand the world in a certain way. Even the most “deconstructed” people will hold many concepts and biases through the perspective of capitalist logic, because it’s deeply insidious and omnipresent. That being said, Communism has the same reality-shaping power over the citizens who live under its rules. Bathhouse explores the limitations that certain aspects of the communist ideology impose on society.
The idea of understanding reality through the lenses of communism is very interesting for me. I’ve watched lots of documentaries on North Korea, The Soviet Union, and movies that expressed the Soviet anxieties during the collapse of the system.
One of the most interesting perspectives on communist anxieties is presented in Tarkovsky’s 1979 film “Stalker”. The concept of the Zone, a place where reality is constantly shifting and your own perception is not reliable, speaks of the anxieties related to uncertainty and decadence.
The animation Bathhouse also speaks about Soviet anxieties. It’s criticism aimed at the deep bureaucratisation of the system, that rendered it useless, inaccessible, incomprehensible- and ultimately - corrupt. And while it’s interesting in itself to investigate those anxieties, it’s even more intriguing to build parallels with the state of contemporary capitalism.
Anarchist anthropologist David Graeber says in his book “Bullshit Jobs: the rise of pointless work and what we can do about it”:
“It’s as if someone were out there making up pointless jobs just for the sake of keeping us all working. And here, precisely, lies the mystery. In capitalism, this is precisely what is not supposed to happen. Sure, in the old inefficient Socialist states like the Soviet Union, where employment was considered both a right and a sacred duty, the system made up as many jobs as it had to. […] But, of course, this is the very sort of problem market competition is supposed to fix. According to economic theory, at least, the last thing a profit-seeking firm is going to do is shell out money to workers they don’t really need to employ. Still, somehow, it happens.
While corporations may engage in ruthless downsizing, the layoffs and speed-ups invariably fall on that class of people who are actually making, moving, fixing, and maintaining things. Through some strange alchemy no one can quite explain, the number of salaried paper pushers ultimately seems to expand, and more and more employees find themselves—not unlike Soviet workers, actually—working forty- or even[…]”
While being forced to hear me read Bullshit Jobs earlier this week, my husband, interestingly, made the comparison between Bullshit Jobs and the Apple TV series Severance (Now, if you haven’t watched Severance yet you must do it).
In Severance, the main characters are stuck doing what appears to be a completely meaningless and nonsensical job, while the reason for their employment is hidden from them. Severance speaks loads on the current state of capitalist bureaucracy and hierarchy, and interestingly, sometimes makes similar points as the animation Bathhouse does.
Detail of a computer screen from the Microdata Refinement work from Severance.
For instance, the inaccessibility Harmony Cobel struggles with when she needs to address the board directors is very similar to the Bathhouse worker’s struggle to communicate with their bosses about their invention of the time machine.
The complex hierarchy of the system is also expressed in both productions: In Severance, Milchick and Cobel struggle with retaliation and surveillance from their bosses; while in Bathhouse there’s a sequence (which I kindly uploaded to youtube) describing the role of hierarchy in further complexifying bureaucracy.
I find it interesting to see how late capitalism finds itself developing issues that aren’t unfamiliar to the communist economic system. It makes me wonder which anxieties created by these, theoretically opposite, systems can meet in the middle of the venn diagram.
To discuss another example, Bathhouse also shows how bureaucrats are trapped in their limited mindsets even in the most life-changing of moments. When the Phosphorescent Woman invites the people to join her on a journey to the future, bureaucrats get stuck calculating the expenses of the trip. This same criticism is made towards capitalism in Akira: while the (second!) apocalypse is being set up, Mr. Nezu still tries to escape with a suitcase full of money and “important” documents.
The inability of these characters to understand reality beyond the trappings of the economic systems in which they are inserted, exposes their fatal uselessness to a society that needs to overcome the limitations of their current ideologies.
While in Mayakovsky’s Bathhouse these characters are thrown in the bin by the centrifugal force of time, unfortunately, in reality they tend to be able to perpetuate their dominance until a stronger revolutionary force takes them away by force - or until the decadent model of society that benefits them eventually self-destructs.
Considering the unstable and decadent state of contemporary late capitalism, I believe it can be an enriching experience to gain insight from former Soviet anxieties of living in a reality that’s crumbling apart and still refuses to give up on its own deeply flawed structure.
Watching Bathhouse made me want to generate the revolutionary force that will spin the wheels of time, and that inspiration was converted into this essay. I hope you get inspired to watch it as well and send me your thoughts and opinions on the subject.
With love 🌸🐝,