I'm interested to hear your take on this in general. I know some people are slamming Zizek for example for his use of pop culture references in his works (though I haven't read anything by him yet actually!).
Are you in favor of a bit of (obscure) references or do you think they should best be left out completely?
I'm asking you because it's something I've been wondering about; I do like the odd bit of obscure references without much of cliché - now that I feel I got the basics, the foundations of my political beliefs down, I want to start writing myself, and that's where the problem begins as the pop culture thing now presents itself as an issue in my direct activity.
Case in point, I'm currently writing (or want to start doing so in the next few weeks, at least) a short piece on human capital. That is, showing that "human capital" is not capital (by explaining what capital is, some passages on value theory might be necessary), and then asking the question, if it is not capital, what is it then? The answer lies in wage labor; human capital as defined in various economic textbooks appears under current economic relations as a use value (as an element of commodified labor), etc. Coming to the conclusion that since "human capital" only serves those who actually profit from it (as surplus value), education fees for example are just another piece in the puzzle of class antagonisms and therefore are to be opposed just as much as any other form of exploitation. (All the while taking the piss at bourgeois economists for not even knowing what capital is)
Now I want to throw a passage in there about the fetishism of economic categories, as human capital definitely is a fetishistic category - my pop culture comparison would be The Red Guy from the 90s cartoon show Cow and Chicken, who to me is the very embodiment of fetishism.1 Now, as a fan of 90s cartoons these references may be too obscure and therefore may do more harm than good.
- 1. The Red Guy is the primary antagonist of the show, appearing in each episode in different roles and costumes - Cow and Chicken never recognize him nor do they ever get to know who he really is or what his ulterior goal is. We only know of The Red Guy what he presents to us in each episode, and technically we don't even know his name (he takes on names like Dr. Nopants in some episodes for example, but he is never addressed with his actual name), in short, he is a complete mystery and Cow and Chicken can and do only abstract from him as what he presents themselves as. If he is a doctor, they see a doctor; if he plays a pirate, they see him as a pirate - they judge him not by his essence but by his surface appearance