culture jam

                          culture jamming will become to our era what civil rights was to the 60s ;

culture jamming is part of a movement: a desire to change how the world is currently functioning--america being ground zero. america: the place where corporations replace individuals, where image (illusions) are the main focus. i refer to the consumeristic culture: a massive, branded, marketed nation, where the main function of society is to create and consume products. to live, work, consume, work, consume, work, to die.

the media is owned by corporations, instead of individuals. the media tells you what you need. creates countless illusions. tells lies, manipulates the truth. billboards, tv, newspapers, radio, internet, mail, shopping malls: ads everywhere. buy this, otherwise you won't be complete. this will make you happy. you need it. in order for you to escape hearing such constant influence, you must leave society completely.

individuals do have the power to tune such out, to restrict the intake, to stop listening. what then? the damage, manipulation, is still being done elsewhere, everywhere, near globally. while certain "well off" individuals consume endless shiny products and decorate themselves with the newest trend, humans in far off countries-- as well as here in america-- are meanwhile starving, near death, and diseased-- all quite literally. while the individuals whom have completely bought in to the consumeristic way of life feel, perhaps, quite empty, restless, and starving: mentally. hence: phase in legal drugs. anti-depressants. america is home to the highest depression rate, which is continuing to climb at a dramatic, rapid rate. why is this? bad genes, or bad culture?

so here is a purpose: spread information, try to open eyes. it is all too easy to dwell and become cynical, to decide it would be an impossible task to change the way society currently is. yet change is constant, and all empires eventually fall. you may think such would be horrible, a catastrophe-- the end of the world-- but the truth is, if such a consumption oriented society continues to thrive as do we now, that will be end the end of the world in itself.

is the land of the free? the agenda of large corporations, thus media, is this: convince consumers (our title and role given to us immediately upon birth) to buy products, to endlessly consume. are we to be pawns? work forty hour weeks for a large corporation so that we can have a "clean, bleached box", a car, the standard, modern, "necessary" gear?

media, advertising, and tv "entertainment" is replacing art. children are lacking in imagination-- tv and endless children's products (toys) do the thinking and "exploration" for them. (a plastic nation)

we are living beyond our means. earth cannot support such lifestyles. can not support such a culture. it's imperative to take action, resist, stop restricting yourself, and support change.

(the term culture jamming was created in 1984 by the band negativland; used now to describe the work of media artists/activists)


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social unrest
Activists from all over the planet are not taking to the streets because some anti-corporate political subculture has suddenly become hip, but because they are being dispossessed. For some, the dispossession is abstract - a loss of identity, of community or individual sovereignty. For the world's majority, however, the dispossession is as concrete as a handful of grain or a pension cheque.

Social unrest is almost everywhere one cares to look - the mainstream media has only failed to make the connections. News reports have celebrated China's expanding economy and newly minted membership in the World Trade Organization. Chinese labor activist Trini Leung tells a very different story. "Unrest has been growing among the retrenched workers and displaced farmers in the past decade," she says. "One can safely say that at least hundreds of protest actions such as sit-ins, street demonstrations, road blocks take place daily across the country." -- Katharine Ainger



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this revolution
The Situationists saw this revolution coming long ago. The French philosophical movement that inspired the 1968 Paris riots predicted what might happen to a society driven by consumer capitalism. The Situationists intuited how hard it would be to hang on to one's core self in a "society of spectacle," a world of manufactured desires and manipulated emotions. Guy Debord, the leader of the Situationist movement, said: "Revolution is not showing life to people, but making them live." This instinct to be free and unfettered is hard-wired into each one of us. It's a drive as strong as sex or hunger, an irresistible force that, once harnessed, is almost impossible to stop.

With that irresistible force on our side, we will strike.

We will strike by smashing the postmodern hall of mirrors and redefining what it means to be alive. We will reframe the battle in the grandest terms. The old political battles that have consumed humankind during most of the twentieth century-black versus white, Left versus Right, male versus female-will fade into the background. The only battle still worth fighting and winning, the only one that can set us free, is The People versus The Corporate Cool Machine. -- Kalle Lasn



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toxicity in america culture
What’s going on? The commonly sold narrative is that every instance of the blues, and certainly every case of clinical depression, is the result of some in-born biochemical imbalance – treatable only by serotonin drugs like Prozac. Yet these studies make it clear that something larger is at play. If your brain is indeed out of balance, the source of the trouble may very well reside in your cultural environment, not in your genes.

Groundbreaking studies point to a growing toxicity in American culture. They suggest that cultural toxins have now reached dangerously high levels, helping to explain the high school shootings, the skyrocketing use of legal and illegal psychoactive drugs, our growing problems with obesity and psychosomatic illness, rage in public places, and the general sense of cynicism and hopelessness that is enveloping our culture. Yet because these studies are so controversial, because they point an accusing finger at American culture and suggest that the "American Dream" itself may be one of the root causes of our deteriorating mental health, they remain in the margins – disputed, denied and ignored. So, as the journal of the mental environment, we figure it’s up to us to set things straight and give these studies the prominence they deserve. We surveyed 15 of them and in the following pages, offer brief synopses of the most compelling. Detailed summaries of all 15, with references and hyperlinks, can be read here. (read more) - Adbusters



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medicated nation
Corporations now fund 70 percent of all clinical research in the US. Those companies, in turn, have long reserved the right to sit on any data that might do harm to their pharmaceutical brands. In 1999, for example, Eli Lilly received a paper on olanzapine, the best-selling antipsychotic drug in America. The study showed that, contrary to Lilly's hopes, olanzapine was not useful in the treatment of Parkinson's symptoms. Those results were kept quiet, and the drug continues to be used inappropriately, exposing Parkinson's patients to a long list of potential side-effects.

Though Prozac is one of the world's best-known commodities, its most terrifying potential side effect, "akathisia," remains virtually unknown. Akathisia has been described as a unique form of inner torture that, prior to the development of psychiatric drugs, probably never existed. Knowledge of the side effect, however, has been around for a while. In 1978, 10 years before "fluoxetine" would be brought to the US market and become the bestseller known as Prozac, initial clinical trails had already warned of akathisia and other problems. Minutes from Lilly's Prozac project team in that year noted that, "Some patients have converted from severe depression to agitation within a few days; in one case the agitation was marked and the patient had to be taken off [the] drug . . . There have been a fairly large number of reports of adverse reactions."

Reports that Prozac might be unsafe at any dose had Lilly running scared. As early as 1990, one executive stated in an internal memo that, if Prozac is taken off the market, the company could "go down the tubes." With the US Food and Drug Administration asking questions, Lilly was pressed to show that their drug was safe. The result was published on September 21, 1991.

Authored by Lilly employees, the report claimed to represent all existing data comparing Prozac with either older antidepressants or placebos. In fact, the data had been hand-picked to favor the drug and the company. The analysis dealt with 3,065 patients, less than 12 percent of the total data from Prozac studies at the time. Among those whose data were left out was the very population most likely to become suicidal – the five or so percent of patients who dropped out of the clinical trials because they experienced unpleasant side effects after taking Prozac. -- Prozac Spotlight



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media manipulating the truth
Network fired reporters who refused to water down the bad news about Monsanto

"There is no law, rule or regulation against slanting the news." When a major news media company makes this argument in court, that sounds like, well, news. So when Rupert Murdoch's Fox network did exactly that, why did the case fail to make page one and prime time?

On August 18, 2000, the "no rules" argument – in fact, the whole of Fox's case – collapsed. A jury found that Fox station wtvt in Tampa, Florida, had wrongfully fired reporter Jane Akre after she refused to modify an investigative story in ways she felt would result in "a false, distorted, or slanted news report." Damages were set at $425,000, though appeals by Fox could delay the payment for more than two years. -- Foxbghsuit



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talk of anarchy
Outrage fell from fashion, so much so that even our most visible radical groups – like Earth First!, the Ruckus Society, and the Direct Action Network – seem restrained. Most have settled into media-savvy campaigns of non-violent direct action (many of their members, it has to be noted, are anarchists). But within the anarchist conversation, outrage is a warming fire around which to debate the unmentionable questions. Right now, a new consensus is attracting a limited following, best known through the Black Bloc street radicals that believe corporate media is a monster that isn’t worth feeding, that property damage isn’t violence unless living things are wounded, and that enduring police violence may be the same as accepting it.

A few things can be said for certain about anarchist philosophy. Anarchists reject the legitimacy of external government, political authority, corporate power, hierarchy and domination. They believe that, through social rebellion, society can become a voluntary association of free and equal individuals. "Mind your own business" has been an anarchist motto, but the emphasis on equality separates the anarchist from any free marketeer. Anarchism imagines the maximum individual freedom that is compatible with freedom for all others, and it is along this line that anarchists fiercely debate and divide. There’s an old joke: "What do you get if you lock two anarchists in a room? Three splinter groups."

If history is any measure, though, it is the anarchist and anarchism that will be misunderstood, denounced, and driven again into its deep underground. One anarchist, writing for the Independent Media Center at the outset of the early August protests in Philadelphia, predicted an impending storm. "The media simultaneously demonizes and discredits the protesters, turning them from citizens with legitimate concerns that aren’t being heard into an unruly mob with no cause that wants to find any excuse to trash buildings and beat up cops. Then, the general public is willing to look the other way as police invade civil rights." -- James MacKinnon



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media merging
what does it mean when a handful of media corporations gain control of the world’s news, entertainment and information flows?

It means cultural homogenization. It means the same hairstyles, catchphrases, music and action-hero-antics perpetrated ad nauseum around the world. It means a world in which dissenting voices that challenge corporate interests and profitability are increasingly filtered out.

In all systems, such homogenization is poison. Lack of diversity leads to inefficiency, stagnation and failure. Just as this is true for physical systems, lack of infodiversity spells disaster for mental systems too. The loss of a language, tradition or cultural heritage – or the censoring of one good idea – can be as big a loss to future generations as a biological species going extinct.

Infodiversity is a word you’ll probably keep hearing in the years ahead. Infodiversity is analogous to biodiversity. Both are bedrocks of human existence, and both are currently plummeting at alarming rates. -- Kalle Lasn


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  • adbusters.org - anti-consumerist magazine.
  • billboard liberation front - improving outdoor advertising since 1977. group creating parody billboard advertisements that attempt to counteract consumerism in public spaces.
  • culture jamming - hacking, slashing and sniping in the empire of signs.
  • jam.media.org - part of the media.org cooperative. jams include the federal government and the world of e-commerce
  • urbanize - reclaiming our cities from corporate rule through subversive art.
  • cleansurface - archive of public troulbe-making, street art, unsanctioned creativity and the urban space remix.
  • droplift project - anti-copyright collective of musicians make and find recordings of the stuff we all hear on radio, etc: then cut it all up and rearrange it to make new art, social commentary, parody, and contemporary criticism.
  • slumber inc - art campaign fronting as a corporate entity utilizing stickers, wheat-pasted posters, and fake ads.
  • subvertise - archive of subverts, political art, spoof banner ads and parody web sites.
  • idiosyntactix - extensive list of hoaxes, with links.
  • cacophony - individuals united in the pursuit of experiences beyond the pale of mainstream society through subversion, pranks, art, fringe explorations and meaningless madness.
  • hyper-redundant-mart - consumable simulacra
  • prozacspotlight - the politics of mental health
  • america vs. the world - direct american military intervention on other nations' soil from world war II to the present day
  • ecopsychology - does damage to or preservation of the physical environment affect the human psyche?
  • mcspotlight - uncovering truth in regards to the mcdonalds corporation
  • abrupt - apocalyptic optimism for the end of history
  • aa - advertisers anonymous
  • bad ads - how many ads did you see or hear today?
  • jamming the media - 350-page guide to "media hacking" with chapters on zines, public access TV, film & video, indie music, media pranking, ezine publishing.