From Publishers Weekly
So-called rebellion not only perpetuates the market economy, it's the economy's biggest driving factor. So argue Canadian philosophy professors Heath and Potter; in their world, you can't "sell out" or be "co-opted," because you're already participating in the market, where rebellion is just another word for relentless innovation, fashion and cool. With sharp humor, the two make a solid case for consumerism being motivated by competitiveness rather than conformity, while pointing out the hypocrisies and shortcomings of "alternative" lifestyles, like the fascination with ancient non-Western medicine as somehow nobler and purer than modern science. Their theoretical underpinnings range from critiques of Freud to French postmodernism, and they layer their philosophical arguments with personal experience (though the use of "I" without identifying the writer as either Heath or Potter becomes irritating). The authors tear into veterans of the '60s counterculture repeatedly, and blaming the "all or nothing" approach of would-be radicals who drop out for holding back progress. The arguments are familiar, but Heath and Potter's sustained scrutiny of the premises from a market perspective freshens them.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Although a more fitting title for this book might be Why Counter Culture Becomes Consumer Culture
, the authors adeptly and succinctly sum up 200 years of consumer culture. Within the first few chapters, this book enlightens us enough to accomplish its goal while being quite an infectious read as well as inspiration to forge ahead to analyze how average lifestyle decisions affect the big picture of capitalism. (The book should not be read without some note taking and, later, examining many of the references to books, movies, and music.) Heath and Potter seek to make us realize how our lifestyles and spending habits reverberate throughout every facet of our lives. The lesson is, if one wants to participate in the consumer culture, continue with the current lifestyle, but if one desires to be a genuine rebel, move to the forest and become a hunter-gatherer like our ancestors (and Ted Kaczynski). Ed DwyerCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved