Dr. Christopher Craig's guest lecture on our class's central blog emphasizes ideology in understanding Marxism and Marxist theory. I'd like to first offer a big thank you to Dr. Craig for taking time out of his schedule to help our class further understand Marxism.
Dr. Craig's lecture pushes ideology as a central tennent of Marxism than we yet have in class. Definining ideology as "the representation of one particular group’s, or more specifically, one class’s outlook, values, and interests, as if they are 'universal' to all," Dr. Craig explores and explains the ways in which ideology shapes and perpetuates political and economic situations with an eye towards literary ideology.
A prominent example from the lecture is that of the image of Che Guevara, now sold by major corporations and bought by consumers to symbolize rebellion. These shirts are everywhere. Che became a popular man in the last decade or so. These shirts are also terribly ironic. Guevara's ideals have been marketed completely, becoming a part of ruling class ideology as a means by which to feel rebellious. For the consumer to feel this surge of adrenaline, though, he must first make that which he would theoretically rebel against more powerful by paying the company.
And so ideology has us locked in a system whereby we are constantly feeding the elite. I take issue with this, though. Does the fact that we recognize it not mean that we are free from it? Does it not provide for an opportunity to be a smart consumer? And isn't that enough? Or does Marxism want us to believe that we are not free until we've overturned the entire system? I disagree with this notion, if it is the case. An ability to see a system at work, perhaps through literary studies or perhaps through just good ol' astuteness should be enough to consider myself free - maybe not immediately free from the shackles of the system, but free to make a way within it.