When French theorist Guy Debord wrote The Society of the Spectacle in 1967, the world was quite different from now. Of course. Social media didn’t exist, neither the Internet, and television was still very new for many people.
However, the Marxist writer was already depicting a deep, fundamental movement: a society where we don’t see the world directly, but through screens and images, especially from the media. Therefore, everything becomes inherently a form of spectacle. Even what we call “the news” don’t really exist, as we necessarily experience them indirectly. There are always intermediaries of different sorts: a journalist, a TV channel, or a social network.
The whole world will be a permanent spectacle.
With the coronavirus crisis, things will probably go further into that direction. More screens, of course, because of social distancing, but also a new accessory: masks. We were already used to viewing the world through multiple devices and artifacts, now even the real life will not be directly accessible to us.
The whole world will be a permanent spectacle. URL and IRL. Except, maybe, in our bedroom where we’ll still be authorized, once in a while, to drop the mask…
This is the mask society.