By Luke Carson
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Additional resources for Consumption and Depression in Gertrude Stein, Louis Zukofsky and Ezra Pound
But as soon as Stein imagines a politics that might resist this domination, she is required to formulate another kind of domination, that of a prohibitive paternal authority. Yet this too is dangerous, since a powerful leader, such as Roosevelt, may serve the same psychological investments of the subject. Considering Roosevelt's threatened destruction of money, Stein wonders if he has 'an other meaning' inside of him to take the place of money's meaning; the promise of 'an other meaning' points to the material abundance crucial to American reformist or revolutionary politics.
Witnessing the birth of the modern consumer, Durkheim argued that mass production and the destruction of traditional forms of the Good lead to an increase in imaginary n e e d s and desires beyond their natural form. Desires without limits, which are demanded by the emerging consumer economy, 'constantly and infinitely surpass the means at their command; they cannot be quenched. ' 3 2 The very notion of 'purely material or economic motives', a notion fundamental to all spiritual, 'cultural', or traditional critiques of the emerging culture of consumption - that is, all critiques that posit a traditional form of the value of the 'Good' - involves a number of contradictory representations determined by class perspectives.
Her ethic of restraint, which is opposed to liberal, reformist or revolutionary attempts to create a society on what Durkheim considered to be purely economic motives, can go as far as to demand sacrifice and suffering. 58 Stein's anti-fascism is thus based on a misunderstanding of fascism, and actually participates in the authoritarian reaction characteristic of so many of the modernists: the bad fascist father, whom she significantly calls 'depressing', is not to be overcome by forces resistant to patriarchy, but by an appeal to a good father.