Yes, Bauman is dead. But the good news is that I have a new favorite theorist, Jim McGuigan. He writes about the many ways in which neoliberalism seduces by hiding behind the mask of coolness.
I like McGuigan because he doesn’t schizophrenically refuse to notice the patently obvious, like pretty much all the rest of Marxist (and there is no other kind) theorists do, and recognizes openly that capitalism has delivered for an enormous number of people.
In the 1st-world countries, young people don’t fight for bare survival. They have needs of a higher order, if we want to go Maslowian for a second. It’s normal for such young people to be attracted by the glamor of Hollywood, Vegas, YouTube and reality TV.
Artistic professions have always been precarious.
So how do you get young people to embrace and eagerly seek out precariousness? By investing all jobs they can get with an aura of pseudo-artistic, Hollywoodian creativity. They’ll think the precarious lifestyle is cool and non-conformist, and you’ll be able to milk them cheaply.
By the way, one after another young chronicler of precarious, part-time job markets reports that there is a great sense of excitement and exhilaration that one gets from this sort of life. There is also fear and anxiety, of course. But the intensity of pleasure is part of it, too. I’ve observed this in Spanish literature of the crisis, and McGuigan confirms, in these very words.