How commodification normalizes everything that makes you different

This quarter, I am enrolled in TCOM 353: “Critical Approaches to the Study of Media.” The instructor, Alexandra Nutter, has introduced me to the theory of commodification. In a paper she wrote, simply titled, “Commodification” she defined it as “the process by which goods or services that previously were valued for their use are assigned an economic value and become exchangeable items, or commodities.” To put it simply, commodification happens when the artistic value of something is stripped away, and is only seen for how much money it is worth. This is something that we are victims of. Not in the sense that we commodify things ourselves, but that we consume these products as if we have no care for the original artistic or societal value.  A great example is the “Star Wars” franchise. I grew up watching the prequel trilogy, which is widely detested, but I would argue that there was a story to finish, which was set up by the original trilogy. Since Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm, there has been movies and TV shows being spat out in conveyor belt style just to capitalize on the fans of “Star Wars” — who will watch this content even if they are certain that it adds little to no substance to the actual canon of the fictional universe. I know this because I am a fan who watches these new canonical additions, due to FOMO — the fear of missing out. In her paper, Nutter also discussed how smaller, more niche subcultures can be commodified as well. ...read more

by The Tacoma Ledger Feb. 18, 2020 at 3:12pm