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Culture Jam: How to Reverse America's Suicidal Consumer Binge - and Why We Must [Paperback]

Kalle Lasn
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (12 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688178057
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688178055
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.6 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 336,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


America is no longer a country, but a multi-million dollar brand. Lasn aims to stop the branding of America by changing the way the information flws, the way institutions weild power, the way television stations are run, and the way food, fashion, automobile, sports, music, and culture industries set agendas.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Imagine that you are a member of a typical postmodern family, living in a typical house, in a typical neighborhood, in a typical North American city. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Freedom in the 21st Century - why and how 22 Aug 2001
Everything this book covers you probably know already, but reading it here, presented as it is, will crystallize it rock solid. With anger and conviction, Kalle Lasn shows how corporations, orginally created by people to serve them, have turned the tables and enslaved us. After reading No Logo, Captive State, Amusing ourselves to death, Fast Food Nation, all very good books in their own right, Culture Jam takes the central issues and shows exactly what you can, nay MUST, do about them. Part philosophy, part eco-economics, part activism manual, this is an inspiring book.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Extreme but life-changing 24 Jan 2001
By A Customer
So, conservative reactionaries may experience a gut-instinct reaction to hate this book. Lasn certainly puts his point forcefully, and while his conviction is apparent, his examples often seem unreasonable.
But Culture Jam is one of a selection of recent books ("No Logo", "Faster", "Captive State") to examine the effect corporate capitalism is having on us all as human beings and come away with the conclusion that all is not well.
And it's a warning well worth heeding, as violence and depression continue to dog our society despite the outward appearances of productivity and profit that corporations promote.
Lasn argues that concerned individuals should take a two-pronged "pincer" approach, attacking issues from the top using the media and using grassroots "meme warfare" to foster new attitudes amongst the population.
If his vitriol and self-assuredness manages to convince other readers as it has me, Kalle Lasn could find himself the leader of an internationally-renowned army of culture jammers. A hopeful thought.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars simplistic 24 Nov 2006
I'm afraid I must agree with some of the other reviewers here. I read Adbusters, Lasn's magazine, for quite a while and then gave up. I think it is increasingly masking its lack of focus under the guise of "radical design" - eg lots of fragments posted about the page puncturing articles and stories. Indeed, the author has a book on this subject out now and it is all radical anarchy symbols and scrwaled "ask yourself this!!" questions.

This book is meant to be his founding philosophy laid bare. He alludes to all the right people (Guy Debord, Marx) but in such an off hand way you wonder how deeply he has engaged with these guys. You come to think, rather, that Lasn would like elevate himself up to thier stature without the kind of well-developed world-view that has made their works endure over time. This is evinced by his status as a 'culture-jam' (urgh) leader and the slew of reproduced "subvertisements" which I think are exercises in stating the obvious - not work which truly "detourn" perception. A bit like Banksy really. This is not an insignificant point - if his cause is

to stimulate free thinking in others then his presence as 'Mr Adbusters' should be less stamped everywhere. If he really was worthy of idolisation it would be through work which really embodied the kind of ideas he describes. As it is he communicates them second hand.

However - this would be a good read for a teenager who has been awakened by No Logo or something of the same. It would introduce them to the situationists - which would be a good thing at any age! I just wonder if a a big bold book with cliched iconography (look! a man with a barcode on his neck!)is really the kind of thing which can be considered as a challenging book and not just a rent-a-side rant.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Divisive yet insightful......... 9 May 2004
By R Jess
Kalle Lasn's 'Culture Jam' is indeed a call to arms for a 21st century generation that seems more distracted than ever by the pervasive power of mindless consumption. Adbusters magazine has been at the forefront of consumer critique, developing a manifesto that obviously strikes a chord with a growing readership, given its current circulation of over 120,000.

In the opening introduction Lasn makes some rather remarkable statements: "For us feminism has run out of steam" p.xii; he then goes on to state "The old political battles......- black versus white, Left versus Right, male versus female - will fade into the background" p.xvi. This is an ignorantly optimistic conjecture in a world where aparthied still existed in Africa's largest economy less than a generation ago, a world where the vast majority of women are denied the same political rights as men and in the U.S. where they don't even have a universal healthcare system. Lasn seems to suffer from the same illusions as his heros the situationists, that somehow, in the West at least, basic human needs have all been satisfied i.e. freedom from poverty, hunger and homelessness. This may not be a wild idea in Canada where Lasn and Adbusters are based. Consistently touted by the U.N. as the best country in the world in which to live, Canada's reputation for higher standards of living is in part due to the pioneering campaigns of noted left-wingers like Tommy Douglas. Douglas, a former premier of Saskatchewan brought in a cheap and affordable healthcare system for his province in the 1960's, which soon spread throughout the rest of Canada thereafter.

It is true to say that much of the time identity politics operates in a postmodern culture obsessed with diversity in and of itself, rather than any notion of universal revolution.
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