Combination manifesto, documentary and how-to book. Kind of different in light of September 11, which, arguably, exemplified the global rage against the American farce than Lasn predicts. But I wonder whether he was prepared for the ferocity of the attacks.
“mental pollution” – information overload is responsible for the (post)modern american malaise, visible in the drastic increase in psychological disorders.
Call to quantify the effects of “mental pollution” this is similar to my own desire to elaborate the effects of aesthetic homogeneity, and argue for aesthetic rights
One effect is erosion of empathy.
Chronicles the lack of media access for anti-corporate or any resistant messaging (can’t even successfully buy commercials).
Manchurian consumer – programmed desire, etc.
Equates consumerism w/ a cult – it’s got its own lexicon, uniforms, etc.
Charts historical American resistance to corporate power (revolutionary period to civil war). 1886 – corporations granted rights like people.
Expansionist vs. ecological economic paradigms – growth vs. sustainability.
Cultural revolution is necessary to derail our expansionist habits, which lead down the path of Armageddon.
Culture jamming traces its origins to the situationists, lettrists, dadaists, etc.
The solution: “build our own meme factory” (124). I’ll be curious to hear how this can work, given Gitlin, etc. – necessity of mass media thus necessity of capital organization.
- True cost (reflect ecological “truth”)
- Demarketing (unsell products)
- Doomsday meme (self-explanatory)
- No corporate “I” (limit corporate rights)
- Media carta (right to communicate)
- Identify “leverage points”
- Detournement (turn memes against themselves)
- TV jamming
- Industrial pincer (putting pressure from “above” and “below”)
The main point seems to be to produce “cognitive dissonance” throughout society. Seems kinda pie in the sky.
“America is no longer a country. It’s a multitrillion-dollar brand.” (xii)
“The only battle still worth fighting and winning, the only one that can set us free, is The People versus The Corporate Cool Machine.” (xvi)
“what does it mean when our lives and culture are no longer shaped by nature, but by an electronic mass media environment of our own creation?” (xvii) as much as I share her distaste for monoculture, I think the nature/tech dichotomy she relies on here is naïve and therefore counterproductive. It’s almost a conservative yearning for some mythical edenic state of purity. Very dangerous.
“Plenitude is American culture’s perverse burden.” (11)
“the first agenda of the commercial media is, I believe, to sell fear.” (17)
“the GDP measures ‘goods’ but not ‘bads’” (89)
“authentic acts tend to get noticed amid the fakery and correctness on which postmodern culture thrives” (99) sigh. This just seems like such a romantic notion. So easy to dismiss as naïve. Or am I just robotically programmed to dismiss it?
“shock” is “what our bloated, self-absorbed consumer culture needs” (107) once again, this demands to be reexplored in the wake of 9/11.
“postmodern cynicism is rage that can no longer get it up” (141)
“culture isn’t created from the bottom up by the people anymore – it’s fed to us top-down by corporations.” (189) seems a little facile.
“we will save the most precious of all our natural resources: the peace and clarity of our own minds” (199)
“When a stretch limo glides by in 2003, the pedestrian reflex won’t be to peer through the smoked panes for the celebrity inside, but to curse and mock this ridiculous symbol of decadence and environmental harm.” (212) sigh.