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Abstract only
Scott Wilson

2 Supercapitalism What general economy defines first is the explosive character of this world, carried to an extreme degree of explosive tension in the present time. A curse obviously weighs on human life in so far as it does not have the strength to control a vertiginous movement. (Georges Bataille, 1988: 40) With the possible exception of nuclear weapons, capitalism is the most powerful of human inventions. (Edward Luttwak, 1999: ix) The foundation of American strength is … a diverse, modern society [that] has inherent, ambitious entrepreneurial energy. Our

in Great Satan’s rage
American negativity and rap/metal in the age of supercapitalism
Author: Scott Wilson

The seductive force of American supercapitalism unlocks new markets, unleashing the energy of desire, and provides a destructive version of Satan's rage. At the vanguard of this seduction has been the youthful rage and rebellion of the devil's music, American rock 'n' roll and its multiple related subgenres. This book looks at the most pervasive forms of American popular music in the post-cold-war period. Gangsta rap exploits and informs the consumption of luxury brands. The 'mom and pop rage' of the nu metal bands self-consciously exposes itself as the violent expression, the excess of the implacable banal excess, and of shopping-mall consumerism. The book explores the negativity and the 'niggativity' of American rap/metal in the 1990s in relation to a number of key events in the decade such as the Rodney King riots and the Columbine High School massacre. On the face of it, the gangsta 'nigga' is an unlikely point of identification for suburban white culture. But the phenomenon of the 'wigga' (white, wanna-be-nigga) and the success of companies like Nike testify to the fascination that such a figure holds. Rage Against the Machine (also known as Rage or RATM) do not normally have problems with machines, indeed their music and living depend upon them. Rather, the 'machine' is for Rage another word for the new world order of global capitalism. Death metal groups such as Morbid Angel and Deicide aim to outdo the others in its singular relation to death, shock and outrage.

Abstract only
Scott Wilson

in ‘the grand finale, strap my body with TNT, take the president and his bitch with me’ (‘New World Disorder’, 1999). It is concern with new technology, particularly information technology, that seems to provoke most identifications of supercapitalism with the metaphor of the machine. The machine of supercapitalism is perceived as especially invasive, transformative and controlling: ‘Corporate society prints out your thoughts spiritually sold and bought … Connect your soul now get online, / Mind control taking your life’ (Biohazard, ‘Control, 1999). Further

in Great Satan’s rage
Abstract only
Scott Wilson

’s military strategy that are significant here, but this will be discussed in chapter 2. Suffice it to say that it is the energy of America’s entrepreneurs that is credited with winning the cold war, and forming the basis of homeland security, as much as the threat of its nuclear weapons. It is the seductive force of American supercapitalism, therefore, that unlocks new markets, unleashing the energy of desire, that provides a perhaps more benign but no less destructive version of Satan’s rage. Since the end of World War Two at least, Great Satan’s vision of the good life

in Great Satan’s rage
Scott Wilson

utilise but which is always in excess. It is the same with the entrepreneurial energy that the US government recognises as the basis for its security; its end is war. A particular cultural symptom of this is exposed by supercapitalism: what was once the excess of a dominant culture – defining its normality through its difference – has become disclosed as interior and essential to it, especially where it provides an ‘accursed’ image of its essential excess. The schema shown in Figure 5.2 implies that excess is central and also denotes that this x-essence is located

in Great Satan’s rage
Abstract only
Scott Wilson

repressive force; it requires the economic creativity of a capitalism that has become fully combative supercapitalism. That is why entrepreneurial energy is the foundation of American national security. Capitalism becomes essential to war, just as war is the essence of supercapitalism as its principle of pure negativity. Negativity establishes both war and capitalism on a plane of 68 Great Satan’s rage consistency. Supercapitalist war is neither a mode of transcendence nor a mode of immanence, but a mode of excess that is paradoxically essential. It is its excess

in Great Satan’s rage
Abstract only
Scott Wilson

). In particular, Webber considers the ‘hidden curriculum’ that orders and directs the schools themselves. ‘At present’, she writes, ‘school’s objectives (educational, instructional, social or otherwise) are dictated by the demands of unrestrained consumerist culture’, what I have been calling in this book supercapitalism. The hidden curriculum is the implementation of the dual imperative of supercapitalism that is, on the one hand, to be competitive, to produce and to consume to excess and, on the other hand, to control and conform to ‘the hidden curriculum

in Great Satan’s rage
Abstract only
Scott Wilson

it seeks to satirise in its evocation of supercapitalism’s appeal to a protosubject below the threshold of rational interest, need or even desire. At the time of writing, Nevermind is still regarded as a seminal album, redefining rock for and after the 1990s. It is a view repeated in the plethora of lists and canons of popular culture that have characterised the early years of the twenty-first century as it looks back on the last. 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die calls Nevermind ‘the most important rock album of the 1990s’ (Dimery, 2005: 656). Garry

in Great Satan’s rage
Abstract only
Scott Wilson

becomes the ‘sex-essence’ of supercapitalism, opening desire on to an unlimited terrain for the consumption of more and more luxurious goods and images, brand names … Prada, Gabbana, Versace, Ferrari, Maserati, Cristal, Nike, Playboy are the most frequent brands and labels name-checked on Lil’ Kim’s records. It is why the words ‘Playboy centrefold’ are repeated at the climax of Lil’ Kim’s litany of erotic poses. It is not her body that provides the most erotic image, but the label itself. Lil’ Kim came to hip hop prominence in 1995 as part of the Junior MAFIA (short for

in Great Satan’s rage
Abstract only
Scott Wilson

authenticated by Tipper’s sticker. In the context of supercapitalism, therefore, maternal law operates not so much as prohibition or censorship but as an imperative that directs consumer choice. Rap and metal have been overwhelmingly targeted by the PMRC, thereby directing choice towards the music of anti-Oedipal violence that provides further support for maternal law. It is a virtuous spiral. Korn’s self-named debut album, credited with inaugurating the nu metal or white hip hop subgenre, occupies this ambivalent space perfectly. Released in 1994, Koяn’s cover depicts the

in Great Satan’s rage