review CULTURE JAM, with a couple of adbusters' head honchos whose names escape me.
I was excited about this event, because I think Adbusters is pretty amazing. They've done this amazing work turning advertising on its head, exposing some of the underpinnings of our capital driven lives.
But I came away from this lecture more than a little dissappointed.
The first reason is that some of the TV spots they showed were just not all that good. They came out as Political attack ads, very heavy handed, very little subtelty (with a couple exceptions), but nothing really I don't think that would counter the messages of hundreds of commerical ads.
The 2nd reason is that the message is fundamentally a negative one: don't do this, don't do that, things are bad, you're bad. it's not that I think that that message doesn't need to be heard -- I just think it won't be heard. There is no idea of what can be done differently -- or how that can be acheived. No hope, just anger.
I think this stems from the fact that a lot of my peeps, the left, are doomsayers -- and in some ways I think, want to see things fall apart, with this romantic and/or idealistic notion that they can pick up the pieces and put them back better than they were before.
I see myself doing this and I think this is a vision we have to give up.
I realize it is also an attempt to stir things up, to make people uncomfortable. In some ways the worst enemy of positive change is comfort. If people are comfortable, they are not going to get out of their chairs and fight. this is the genius of late 20th century capitalism. This is the true moral of "Monster's Inc" when you think about it -- if you make someone laugh, they are not going to fight you. Keep the people happy, give them what they want, and they will likely follow you like docile sheep.
The other final comment i have is that someone asked a question: "What happens when you're message or ideas get co-opted?" and railed against all the "corrupt environmental clubs" (I assume she meant the sierra club here). When your message gets co-opted, I think you've one. if corporations are taking you're ideas and running with them, rejoice! They have heard your message, they are taking it as far to heart as they ever will. If they start making more enviro friendly products, this is a good thing, no? I don't get the attitude.
One thing did strike true, "it takes many levels of action" to get things done -- from the conservative corrupt clubs, to the sign swinging activists.
I just don't think we can rely on anger to sustain anything - "Yay princess mononoke!"