I don’t have time to dive into all of Bryant’s points here, but basically he notes that discussions of realism or object oriented ontology that begin with “isn’t it just a commodity?” also happen to end right there. I am not one of the OOO crew, but it’s rather weak: commodities have but one face and aren’t hidden from view. (Ok, there’s the whole fetish issue, but then you’d need more than bad Marx.) But this is really bad Marx, for that matter. Read Capital. It’s not like Marx thinks reification is some principle that means we can’t give descriptions of the world.
It’s the type of argument that’s pretty to look at, until you take a moment to think about. Basically, I blame Zizek for this, since these types of arguments went away for some time. But now you have people doing it to Zizek, basically saying that everything he does mirrors some really lame, reductive version of late capitalism and thus… well, thus, I don’t know where it’s supposed to go. This was Zizek’s point about all postmodernists, but at least he was dealing with the actual political implications of these thinkers’ approaches. Ok, Bryant is a commodity fetishist breathing in full the capitalist ideology. And now what? I just have seen too many lame renditions of these arguments by people who don’t seem to even know what capitalism is (if it’s anything). The problem becomes one of purity, in the end, and here is how Zizek does respond to these types of points: of course it’s going to, but that doesn’t stop the work of critique.