Abstract

Abstract:

In Pym (2011), Mat Johnson focuses on the role of consumerism in producing and reproducing ideologies of race. His critique of an implicitly racialist postmodern consumerism has two main vehicles. One is an African American character's serial consumption of Little Debbie snack cakes. Whiteness, addiction to junk food, and the attempt at fulfillment through the passionate engagement with consumer culture come to be inextricably bound in the figure of Little Debbie. His other main vehicle is the "Dome of Light," a "bioDome" located in the Antarctica, which parodies the inner logic of American consumerism as a simulacrum. The owner of the "Dome of Light," Thomas Karvel, a popular, right-wing American artist, attains a sense of omnipotence as an artist and entrepreneur through the erasure of raced and gendered laboring bodies from his simulated world. Through the figure of Karvel, Johnson connects the relativism of late capitalist consumerist culture to the rejection of science and the erasure of the laboring body that centers contemporary American conservative ideology.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1542-4286
Print ISSN
0093-3139
Pages
pp. 166-199
Launched on MUSE
2017-04-25
Open Access
No
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