(or Fear and Loathing in Globalization)
William Gibson's Pattern Recognition gives Fredric Jameson a jouissance attack.
Cayce Pollard's talent, lying as it does halfway between telepathy and old-fashioned aesthetic sensibility, is in fact what suspends Gibson's novel between Science Fiction and realism and lends it its extraordinary resonance. To put it simply (as she does), Cayce's business is to 'hunt "cool"'; or in other words, to wander through the masses of now and future consumers, . . . in order mentally to detect the first stirrings of anything likely to become a trend or a new fashion. She has in fact racked up some impressive achievements, of which my favourite, mildly redolent of DeLillo, is the identification of the first person in the world to wear a baseball cap backwards (he is a Mexican). But these 'futures' are very much a business proposition, and Cayce is something like an industrial spy of times to come. 'I consult on design . . . Manufacturers use me to keep track of street fashion'; these modest formulas are a little too dry, and underplay the sheer physicality of this gift, which allows her to identify a 'pattern' and then to 'point a commodifier at it'.(via Gawker interview with Sasha Frere-Jones)
But Cayce's gift is drawn back into our real (or realistic) world by the body itself; she must pay for it by the nauseas and anxiety attacks, the commodity bulimia which is the inevitable price of her premonitory sensibility—no doubt nourished by obscure traumas, of which the latest is her father's mysterious disappearance in Manhattan on the morning of 9/11. It is as if the other face of the 'coming attraction', its reification and the dead-end product of what was once an active process of consumption and desire itself, were none other than the logo.
These nauseas are part of Cayce's navigational apparatus, and they stretch back to some of the oldest logos still extant, such as her worst nightmare, Bibendum, the Michelin Man, which is like that crack through which the Lacanian Real makes its catastrophic appearance. 'National icons', on the other hand, ‘are always neutral for her, with the exception of Nazi Germany’s . . . a scary excess of design talent’.