Prof. McCarthy challenges neo-Marxist orthodoxy with respect to aesthetic practices, arguing instead that such practices are at the epicenter of lived experience and the institutional practices of modern societies. Aesthetics constitute a great window onto contemporary life revealing central contradictions, tensions and discontinuities. This presentation has three goals. First, to examine the aesthetic dimensions of the diffusion of modernization theory to developing societies. Second, to demonstrate the deepening role of aesthetics in the organization of capitalism in late modern life. And third, to survey the crisis of language that the aestheticization of everyday life has precipitated in neo-Marxist efforts to grasp the central dynamics of contemporary society. The latter has led to a depreciation of the value and insightfulness of neo-Marxist analysis in our time—old metaphors associated with class, economy, state (“production,” “reproduction,” “resistance,” “the labor/capital” contradiction) are all worn down by the transformations of the past decades in which the saturation of economic and political practices in aesthetic mediations has proceeded full scale.