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Culture Jam: How To Reverse America's Suicidal Consumer Binge - And Why We Must
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Culture Jam: How To Reverse America's Suicidal Consumer Binge - And Why We Must

3.60  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,550 Ratings  ·  140 Reviews
America is no longer a country but a multimillion-dollar brand, says Kalle Lasn and his fellow "culture jammers". The founder of Adbusters magazine, Lasn aims to stop the branding of America by changing the way information flows; the way institutions wield power; the way television stations are run; and the way the food, fashion, automobile, sports, music, and culture indu ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 7th 2000 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published 1999)
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Mar 14, 2008 Colin rated it did not like it
Shelves: jalc-era, nonfiction
Naive, self-indulgent, and hypocritical. The author makes a couple anemic attempts at a cogent analysis of consumerism before giving up and lapsing into a loose recital of silly and self-congratulatory schemes. After reading Mediated and Nation of Rebels, both of which offer startling insights, this book is only memorable for being aggravating.
Mar 26, 2008 Kendall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Brian Meyer
Recommended to Kendall by: Bill Przylucki
great concepts in this book. if you've ever been interested in the messages adbusters presents (buy nothing day, anti corporate takeover of america generally), it's a good read. I especially appreciate being introduced to the french situationists in this book. if anyone knows of any good books about that movement, please let me know! though it was written in 1999, this book is relevant now more than ever. let me know if you're interested in learning more about it... the concept of Culture Jammin ...more
Nov 08, 2007 Interzone rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all
I actually worked with a very nice lady who made a documentary on a group that this book has inspired. Culture Jamming is for some strange reasons virtually unknown thus creating greater reactions to it.

Overall I find myself in total agreement when it comes to a few ideas that this author suggests and agree totally over the uninvited invasion that commercials present us with on a daily basis.

Truely an eye opener to the green veins that run through the heart of America and soon the rest of th
Oct 17, 2010 Lauren rated it really liked it
Culture Jam was written in 2000, and reading it in 2010 is both illuminating and an exercise in frustration. The thesis of the book is essentially summed up on page 114: "Inegalitarianism and exclusiveness are not cool. First World opulence is not cool. A culture that keeps hyping people to consume more is not cool. America is not cool. And the people who fall for the hype are the worst kind of uncool: They're suckers." I agree with Lasn on many points and think that it must have been ground-bre ...more
Jun 03, 2014 Emma rated it liked it
Shelves: read-for-school
We read this book for English, and it presents a(possibly) unique and very biased perspective on America, and the way we are becoming corrupted. I agree with a small portion of the things in this book, and I think some of us do need to realize that we need to change some things. If you pair this book along with a disturbing video called Generation "Like", the book 1984, and a TED talk about changing education (what we did in English class), Lasn has a very good argument, but I wouldn't go so far ...more
Lesha F.
Jun 03, 2008 Lesha F. rated it it was amazing
This book changed me.

The bad reviews surprised me at first, but then, on second thought, not so much. I read this book when I was 19 or 20, I think. Now, at 26, I think I'd like to re-read it to see if it still excites me so much. Who knows?

Regardless, I'll keep my 5-star rating because it really enabled me to change my perspective. Generally speaking, American media is more problematic than it seems, and less entertaining than it seems. I'm less militant now than I was when I was 20. I don't fe
Jan 29, 2011 Martha☀ rated it it was ok
K. Lasn is right on the money about so many consumer issues. I agree with pretty well everything he writes. Unfortunately, his "preaching to the choir" style does not make the reader think critically through his/her own consumer habits. Instead he makes you look down on those 'other people' who are more wasteful and frivolous than the reader. I suppose I was looking to be shamed into curbing my consumerist lifestyle, and I did not find that here.
Apr 06, 2008 Erin rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who dislike The Man
Very interesting and passionate argument for living more authentically, and not automatically swallowing corporate American infobabble and consumerism without thinking about the consequences of doing so. It's kind of sad that this book is already dated, as it was written about 10 years ago....maybe Lasn should put out an updated version? That would be pretty cool. He's probably pretty busy with Adbusters, though!
Aug 31, 2007 Randy rated it really liked it
Supremely quick read that introduces the 'revolution' that Kalle Lasn is trying to seed with Adbusters magazine. Really, I recommend Adbusters more than this book if you're going to donate money his way. And definitely not the anti-sweathshop shoes with the blackspots on them -- they look really unfashionable. Can we have anarchy while not having to wear ersatz Converse? (Check the website)
Jan 19, 2009 Erin rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Interesting if you want to read a Situationist manifesto, not so much if you're looking for a book detailing why America's consumer culture is, economically, heading to a bad end.

I found it somewhat funny that this is a booklong ad for AdBusters. It's made me go from loving them to somewhat hating them for their disingenuity.
Jun 13, 2013 Sunil rated it did not like it
Written in 2000, Mr. Lasn's screed manages to secrete the aura of an even older book. There are extensive passages decrying the evils of endless TV-watching (I know practically no one who watches more than a hour or so of TV a day, if that); the complex deluge of Lexis-goddamn-Nexis baffles and depresses him (Web 2.0 must surely have been his undoing); at one point, the reader is prompted to visit the Adbusters' website "on the World Wide Web," written out and in staggeringly un-ironic caps. By ...more
Ah, the dream of the 90s. With all the untapped potential of cyberspace to change the world. At least that's how this book opens, before cyberspace and culture jamming were co-opted by advertisers.

This book was written by a crotchety old guy who thinks the best time in US-ian history was the post WWII era when women cooked and men were real men with real jobs. He doesn't actually say it that way, but he does admit that post-WWII was awesome, and that feminists are just a whiny "victim group". Wh
Michelle Rentauskas
Jul 06, 2015 Michelle Rentauskas rated it liked it
A lot like an extended essay with four parts, Lasn effectively argues his points and does reference a lot of facts and historical events. He is advocating for Adbusters of course, as he helped found it, so constant mention of it was expected. I had to analyze this an outrageous amount for an AP English independent reading assignment and weigh his logical, emotional, and ethical supports, and he did fairly well overall. He calls feminism an outdated cause though, which I took offense too, but per ...more
Ya Go
Jan 11, 2015 Ya Go rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
Culture Jam by Kalle Lasn is a good read about Corporate (TM) America and Organized "Corporate" Crime knowadays. It's written from a American point of view. I believe it's important to add that fact because the world is global and most people on the globe do copy 99% of the American ideas. Thinking so we are not only living with Corporate (TM) America but rather we ARE living in Corporate (TM) Planet Earth ... Similar to Daniel Quinn book "Beyond Civilization: Humanity's Next Great Adventure", K ...more
Benjamin Atkinson
I found Kalle Lasn to be a breath of fresh air; both in his informal writing style and his thorough research. His argument is powerful. He assert that today's consumer driven, fear-inspired, technologically saturated world is having troubling psychological and physiological effects on humanity. I do not like to go into detail but one tease is how many images we are bombarded by today versus 50 years ago. Obviously, today we are drowning in extremely powerful scientifically designed messages desi ...more
Apr 18, 2015 Audrey rated it it was ok
Shelves: us-nonfiction
The premise is sound -- unplug, relax, and drop out -- but the execution is flawed. 200 pages of ranting permeated by the author's disdain for basically everyone who's not him. Lasn unloads on corporations, true, but also on feminists, "the slacker generation" (don't. get. me. started.) and everyone not living in a hut in the wilds of British Columbia.

Too many of Lasn's culture-jamming strategies involve treating customer service people poorly (if you rip all the excess packaging off a doll in
Jul 08, 2011 Mike rated it liked it
This book's vilification of the financial industry is, in retrospect, well justified, if not prophetic. Its other social critiques, caustic though they may be, are not far off either, in my own humble opinion. However, I think that any and all solutions will require compassion and humor, not merely a revolution. Lest we forget the old Beatles song.
Darin Barry
May 15, 2007 Darin Barry rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Every American
This should be required reading in high school. It examines the true costs of our addiction to consumption and how brand worshiping and cosumerism is destroying culture both here in the states and worldwide.

How can we uncool corporate messages before they do significant damage? This has some great answers.
Sep 01, 2007 Darrell rated it it was amazing
this was another "many times read" book
this the offering of the Adbusters magazine folks
very influential to me - gave my copy away to an Amtrak employee on my way across America after my summer in Buffalo
Terrible book. I only read the first half, but I didn't agree with a thing that it said, and I hated every second that I spent on it. A really awful book.
Jan 21, 2009 Nick rated it it was amazing
Great writing with a grand message. I could not agree more with Kalle's critique of modern American culture. A very quotable book.
rachel  misfiticus
Mar 03, 2011 rachel misfiticus rated it it was ok
yawn... unoriginal... inauthentic... condescending... scattered... cynical... ironic... pretty much what I was expecting...

Paul T
Sep 10, 2007 Paul T rated it did not like it
So poorly written and conceived, and yet, so odd.
Oct 29, 2015 Jason marked it as to-read
The first agenda of the commercial media is, I believe, to sell fear. What the “news” story of a busload of tourists gunned down in Egypt and the cop show about widespread corruption on the force have in common is that they contribute to the sense that the world is a menacing, inhospitable, untrustworthy place. Fear breeds insecurity—and then consumer culture offers us a variety of ways to buy our way back to security. (p. 17)

The commercial media are to the mental environment what factories are
Aug 08, 2011 Regina rated it it was amazing
Culture Jam serves as an eye-opening look at the culture of consumerism in America. The book examines the development of everything from the mass produced fast food meals that have become so prevalent in many of our lives, to our seemingly constant (and likely connected!)body-issues, the way we spend our free time, and the breakdown of social relationships and neighbor connections in communities.

However, this is done with some level of hope that through revolutionary actions through the right c
May 13, 2009 Marshall rated it liked it
American consumer culture has certainly gotten out of hand. It had been accelerating heavily since the 80's, as consumer debt skyrocketed, television dictated public awareness, and corporate lobbying dictated public policy. Our culture was no longer something we participated in, but something we consumed. And just as there was a lash back in the late 60's against economic and political excesses, Kalle Lasn stood up in the late 90's and declared the next revolution.

Just as corporate media co-opte
Mar 29, 2009 Brian rated it it was amazing

About TV.

Causes Depression.

Shows a lot Violence.

Subjects us to data overload.

It is constant unrelenting noise that is probably damaging us in ways we can't even imagine.

Uses "jolts" quick switches of images that distract us and keep us from being able to focus, and act as a form of hypnotism.

It uses shocks of violence, sex and hype as tools, to what end I am not sure.

It leads us to an unreality.

It leads us to a loss or empathy.

It leads to info overload, but only the info those that control it wa
Mar 09, 2012 Joe rated it liked it
Kalle Lasn talks about media and consumer culture.

The book is interesting, but I can't help but feel that time and the internet have largely made the book's basic argument mostly irrelevant. On one hand, we've got satellite and cable channels and media mergers that lead to more power for megacorporations. And yet -- individuals now have more choice and power than ever over the type of media they consume, and how they consume it. You don't want to watch the latest reality TV show? Fine, there are
Robert Beveridge
Sep 08, 2010 Robert Beveridge rated it did not like it
Kalle Lasn, Culture Jam: The Uncooling of America (Morrow, 1999)

I was relatively sure I was going to hate Culture Jam. What I didn't realize-- but, upon reflection, should have-- is why. Lasn, as with many disinformationists, adopts the pose of "oh, those other guys are awful because they distort the facts," and then turns around and uses those same distorted facts as selectively as possible to make sure his point gets across. (The whole second chapter could have done with a massive infusion of
Aug 06, 2012 Kate rated it liked it
Shelves: social-criticism
Written in the early 2000's by the guy who started the Ad-Busters zine and who also had a hand in starting up the Occupy movement. This gives a good summary of his ideas leading up to forming Occupy.

He focuses a lot on messaging in our consumerist culture and using messaging/marketing techniques to challenge people out of their consumerist driven stupor.

Very good fundamental concepts of how important messaging is in activist work. He also contradicts himself sometimes by talking about how bad s
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“Our mental environment is a common-property resource like the air or the water. We need to protect ourselves from unwanted incursions into it, much the same way we lobbied for nonsmoking areas ten years ago.” 9 likes
“Corporations are not legal “persons” with constitutional rights and freedoms of their own, but legal fictions that we created and must therefore control.” 8 likes
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