introDuCtion
What’s the Alternative?
Mr. Krabs: And just when you think you’ve found the land of milk and
honey, they grab ya by the britches, and haul you way up high, and
higher, and higher, and higher, until you’re hauled up to the surface,
flopping and gasping for breath! And then they cook ya, and then they
eat ya—or worse!
SpongeBob: [Terrified] What could be worse than that?
Mr. Krabs: [Softly] Gift shops.
—“Hooky,” SpongeBob SquarePants
Just when you think you have found the land of milk and honey,
Mr. Krabs tells poor old SpongeBob SquarePants, you find your-
self on the menu, or worse, in the gift shop as part of the prod-
uct tie- in for the illusion to which you just waved goodbye. We
are all used to having our dreams crushed, our hopes smashed,
our illusions shattered, but what comes after hope? And what if,
like SpongeBob SquarePants, we don’t believe that a trip to the
land of milk and honey inevitably ends at the gift shop? What is
the alternative, in other words, to cynical resignation on the one
hand and naïve optimism on the other? What is the alternative,
SpongeBob wants to know, to working all day for Mr. Krabs, or
being captured in the net of commodity capitalism while trying
to escape? This book, a kind of “SpongeBob SquarePants Guide
Low
Theory
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