Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Yesterday I discovered Adbusters, through the means of an extremely interesting television documentary which it turned out had been made by our own students (!). The idea of Adbusters is to make visible the cultural hegemony of the large international corporations, and thereby expose this development to criticism. One of their means for this is The Corporate Flag. This flag was behing the head of the Estonian talking in the program... since I tuned in a little late I did not catch his name, but Monday I'll be there, ready with my finger on the record-button.

Their main objective is not to ruin any particular company or brand, but to raise our consciousness about consumption on a personal level. In their Boycott Brand America campaign they don't go out against one brand in particular, but against the general lack of consciousness as to what the brands does to our cultural identity, challenging people to choose one brand and stop using it.

It's almost ten years ago now that my son - then 5 years old - explained to the father of a girl in his pre-school that he wouldn't give her a barbie doll as a present for her birthday, because Barbie represents all the worst aspects of American culture. I had explained carefully to his somewhat older sister why I would not have a role-model doll that looked like an anorectic silicone-enhanced porn-star in the house, and his ears had been wide open... Today they both admonish me when I drink TAB, since it's produced by Coca Cola (I have cut back on that since USA invaded Iraq) (when I do drink it, my son says, with a grin: "enjoy the taste of capitalism."), they refuse to visit McDonalds unless it's an emergency, and they read Fast Food Nation with eyes wide open.

But back to Adbusters... Their call to arms is modern, ironic, high-tech, open source and directed at the future and the consuming generations. And they very much have the finger on the pulse of modern culture, as for instance with this meme-fest. I'll be watching them! And I really want one of those corporate flags!

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