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A book by Kalle Lasn (no, that's not a typo, he's the publisher of Adbusters Magazine, www.adbusters.org) about the culture of consumerism and how bad it is: Bad for the spirit, bad for the population, and bad for the earth.

It shows how the rise of the corporation has taken the freedom to think and choose away from the world without us realizing it; it shows how advertising has created a culture that strangles individuality and free thinking. It holds Americatm mostly responsible for this.

The book then proceeds to show the reader how he or she can become a culture jammer, and start fixing things in large or small ways. In particular, it effectively synthesized my innate dislike of television and advertising, my vague unease about large corporations, and the incredible soul-crushing depression I feel whenever I'm in Wal-Mart into a cohesive whole that is compelling and convicting.

Confidence Index: 5

Presumably MasterYoshi's writeup is meant to be ironic, but just to let it be known: I love America. Kalle Lasn loves America, too; I believe he emigrated here from somewhere in eastern Europe. But corporations have undermined the values that America was founded on, hence the trademark symbol in Americatm.

Culture Jam

Nabisco, Kraft, Nestle, Miller, Planters—Why are you buying food from a Tobacco Company? Down with the Philip Morris monopoly.

Culture Jam is the manifesto for new age anti-commercialism. Written by Kalle Lasn, of Adbusters Media Foundation fame (www.adbusters.org) it is an attack on corporate America and it’s grip on the world’s culture. In Culture Jam, Lasn calls for an end to the Corporate Cooling of mass culture, a culture produced by television, GM food, (and most emphatically) advertisement. Not really a narrative, Culture Jam seems to be a coagulated series of exciting and powerful rants. This book shakes your notions of who exactly is in control of the world and society we participate in, and is a call to arms to return to authentic, non-homogenous culture. The book itself is written in four parts, ordered and titled according to the seasons.

In the section entitled Autumn, Lasn states the problems and their effect on the world at large. This portion of the book stretches from the psychology of mood disorders to the origins of corporate control. It points out our dependency on the corporate machine for our entertainment, nutrition and even our libido. Most prominently, the author comments on corporate rights and maintains that corporations have more privileges and rights secured to them than the average citizen He states the landmark case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad, which named corporations as “natural citizens” with all the rights entitles in that name.

In Winter, the notion is the American Corporate juggernaught has spread to all corners of the globe and we were happy to accommodate it. Winter speaks of corporations flexing their legal muscles, backed by egregious sums of money. The book dives into the saturation of big business in our daily lives, kickin’ ass and taking names (Calvin Klein, Philip Morris, Monsanto, McDonald’s) in the process. He says our “consumer trance” changed the American dream from living to the fullest to buying to the fullest.

While the first two sections of the book open your eyes and anger you about corporate control, the last two sections of the book empower and encourage you to fight back. In Spring, Lasn speaks of a revolution to get corporate America away from our food, our thoughts and our legal system. He gives you ideas and options that help set yourself free from the consumer binge, and puts the power back in your hands. Culture Jam brings up the suggestion of anti-corporate memes, anti-slogans (like the one at the top of the page) that set minds away from must-buy compulsivity and toward authentic thought. Spring is the corporate underminers handbook, it teaches you to be a “Culture Jammer.”

In the last section, Culture Jam treads into the future, a future free of big business control. Summer projects a world where the Culture Jammers have won. In this world, people are free of logo-influenced thought, and spontaneity and authenticity have returned.

Culture Jam is an important book in the age of over-commercialism and the mindless chase after the Corporate Cool machine. It’s the Common Sense for the new revolutionaries and should be read by all. The businesses of America have had their say over the airwaves and in the stores, now it’s our turn to respond. Culture Jam is a critical tool in our arsenal of response, using countless facts and quotes to bring the point home. If you want to be angered, inspired, or empowered, read Culture Jam.
Culture Jam: The Uncooling of America is a book by Kalle Lasn that explains how America is no longer a country, but a multi-trillion dollar brand. In AmericaTM, the principles of freedom and democracy have been swamped by the cult of celebrity and the saturation marketing of companies like McDonald's, Nike and Philip Morris. These brands, products, fashions, celebrities, entertainments -- the spectacles that surround the production of culture -- are our culture now. It is only by "uncooling" these symbols of culture, by organizing resistance against the power trust that manages the brands, that America can reassert itself. Culture jammers uncool brands, fashions and celebrities by "demarketing" and by breaking the "media trance" of our TV-addicted age. Icons come under fire as Lasn deconstructs advertising culture and our consumer environment.

See also:
Kalle Lasn
Culture Jam
Culture Jammer

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