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Culture Jam: How to Reverse America's Suicidal Consumer Binge--And Why We Must Paperback – November 7, 2000
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This book consistently fails to tell you how.
For the greatest part of the book, public-interest advocate Kalle Lasn holds forth on the problems with our society, from the small (mindless TV addiction) to the medium-sized (allowing fashion companies to dictate our ideals of beauty) to the monumental (destructive, unsustainable economic practices). All this is useful, enlightening stuff to know, but let's be frank, we wanted to read this book because we already had an idea of these facts. Now we want some ideas of what to do about it.
The subtitle on the front cover promises to tell you "How to Reverse America's Suicidal Consumer Binge." Good luck finding that. Lasn is fond of patting himself on the back for his past efforts in that direction, but he doesn't really tell the reader what an individual, with an individual's budget of money and time, can really do. He says something at one point about things that can be done, but he speaks of really big options. Take media conglomerates to the World Court? If I had that kind of budget and know-how, I wouldn't be reading this book, now would I?
In giving us the detailed information on the flaws of society, we are having the gaps in our knowledge filled in, and that's handy.Read more ›
For starters, I found myself cringing slightly when he used the phrase "Culture Jammers" to describe those who participate in anti-media action. For someone who wants to "uncool" America, that phrase is a little, well, *cool*. Even if I did paint over billboards, I'd never want to be labelled a "Jammer." Isn't labelling part of the problem?
Lasn also despises television and it's numbing parade of images and commercials, yet he combats this by...making more commercials? He speaks of "meme wars," but television memes are inherently hollow and disposable, and I fear the more Lasn tries to participate in the logo and opinion-in-less-than-30-seconds culture we've gotten ourselves into, the more anti-media activism will be reduced to, ironically, another media fad.
Ultimately what Lasn doesn't touch on enough are the personal solutions to these problems. Turning off the television and the CD walkman are a lot harder than I thought, but in the end it feels great to minimize those things in one's daily life.Read more ›
He touches many of our culture's problems (consumption, poor body image, environmental issues) and examines how the media has had its affect on each of them. The media has become the people. By this, I mean the people live through "brands, products, fashions, celebrities, entertainments." These things "are our culture now. [The people's] role is mostly to listen and watch-and then based on what we have heard and seen, to buy (p. xiii)." The media has turned us into lean mean buying machines-always striving for the newest and the coolest item on the market (which isn't even cool until the media says so).
People have separated themselves from their natural environment, and now live mostly through a consumptive, technology based world. In many ways this impacts the environment negatively, but mostly because "If the Earth felt less like something out there and more like an extension of our bodies, we'd care for it like kin (p. 6)." With all of the problems in our natural environment, people still pretend not to acknowledge or care about it.
The way the media works, Lasn explains, is first by creating fear; fear of not fitting in, not being cool, fear of traveling to foreign places (terrorism), and fear of corruption. "Fear breeds insecurity-and then consumer culture offers us a variety of ways to buy our way back to security (p. 17)." The fear implanted on the people guides their actions everyday. People have become "mediated self-constructions (p.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have a habit of writing down in my philosophy/sociology notebook thoughts on various things. During one such musing I jotted down my observations of American (anti)culture. Read morePublished 3 months ago by JK Bonner
I totally get what this book is trying to do, and I agree with a lot of it. The tone of this book is condescending. Read morePublished 3 months ago by A. Stoll
Kalle Lasn has a lot of good points. Beware he's rather intense and may drive some readers away. But like I said, he has a lot of good observations.Published 14 months ago by Jennifer Fitzmorris
I agree with Kevin L. Nenstiel's excellent three star review, the book is good on criticism but short on constructive ideas. Read morePublished 15 months ago by doug korty
The main thing I like about this book is it doesn't just spew around all the injustices of the world but gives you concrete actions you can take to change them. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Kindle Customer
This author was able to wrap succinctly in words the trepidation which I have had for a long time about the amount of time kids spend on "screen time. Read morePublished on November 17, 2013 by Primo
Explosive and right on target. This book will make you angry and test many of your preconceived beliefs about society and our way of life. Read morePublished on November 13, 2013 by rayenrox