Culture Jam: How to Reverse America's Suicidal Consumer Binge--And Why We Must
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America is no longer a country but a multimillion-dollar brand, says Kalle Lasn and his fellow "culture jammers". The founder of Adbusters magazine, Lasn aims to stop the branding of America by changing the way information flows; the way institutions wield power; the way television stations are run; and the way the food, fashion, automobile, sports, music, and culture industries set agendas. With a courageous and compelling voice, Lasn deconstructs the advertising culture and our fixation on icons and brand names. And he shows how to organize resistance against the power trust that manages the brands by "uncooling" consumer items, by "dermarketing" fashions and celebrities, and by breaking the "media trance" of our TV-addicted age.
A powerful manifesto by a leading media activist, Culture Jam lays the foundations for the most significant social movement of the early twenty-first century -- a movement that can change the world and the way we think and live.
these insights have come on like powerful, secular epiphanies. Sometimes they have been triggered by things we overheard or read or stumbled upon. Sometimes they have involved things we thought we knew but now, suddenly, felt. These truths have left us shaken; it's no exaggeration to say they have changed our lives. I'd like to share with you some of the insights that have occurred to me over the last decade or so. America is no longer a country. It's a multitrillion-dollar brand. Amer ica™ is
continued. Until finally a little boy said, "It smells like shit!" And suddenly everyone realized they were ankle-deep in it. I think of this story every time I try to explain the creeping dys function of North American life. It has happened so gradually that hardly anyone has noticed. Those who have clued in apparently figure it's best to ignore the shit and just keep dancing. In 1945, America was one of history's great liberators. I was a kid in Lubeck, Germany, when the GIs marched in. I still
tell their students everything that's wrong with the global media monopoly, but never a word about how to fix it. Economics professors drone on endlessly about their macroeconomic models while in the real world we live off the planet's natural capital and the backs of future generations. We in the affluent West—the children of Socrates, Plato, Pascal, Descartes, Hegel, Nietzsche, Marx and Wittgenstein—now live almost exclusively in the left cortex of our brains. The dominant personality in our
The point of life, he says, is "to obtain the maximum of well-being with the minimum of consumption." This idea is so profoundly simple that it may well become the credo—the cool—of the twenty-first century. It applies in all areas of culture, from food to cars to fashion. "It would be the height of folly ... to go in for complicated tailoring when a much more beautiful effect can be achieved by the skillful draping of uncut material," Schumacher writes. By this reasoning, it's cooler to ride a
food industry, the likes of Archer Daniels Mid land ("supermarket to the world"), Cargill (the world's largest agribusi ness) and Philip Morris (one of the world's largest food corporations) are framing our choices. Food corporations are formidable opponents because so much of what they do is invisible. One of the things they do is cut us off from the source of our food—a concept known as "distancing." Distancing is a nasty bit of business, but it shouldn't surprise us. As 174 Culture Jam