indiscreet acumen

dan newman

A Less Radical Adbusters


tumblr_memipykDGg1rjaonho1_1280The NYTimes story of Adbusters’ Kalle Lasn didn’t do him much of a service. This is the first time I’ve read about him, and a longer explanation of Adbusters, but it seems the organization is a bit too wacky to work well toward its goals.

I’ve read copies of Adbusters before, and they are confusing as hell. If you haven’t, check out their website to get a taste. Sure, there’s a video on living in an economy beyond growth, but there’s also a story on something to do with men peeing outside. Maybe the title of that piece, “The End of Men,” is supposed to hint at some sort of sarcastic take on the recently released book of the same title. But for people who might be actually interested in ‘culture jamming’ or finding better routes for society to travel, the story just confuses and turns potential collaborators off.

Co-founder of Adbusters, Lasn, “commutes 30 minutes each way from the magazine to his home.” The organization also attempts to sell Converse-like Blackspot shoes to fight Nike, but the original style will be discontinued seemingly due to lack of sales. The article sums up these contradictions well:

Such apparent inconsistencies, and the magazine’s incendiary tone, can be maddening and even offensive, yet this rambunctious approach is also deeply appealing, some critics say. As Mr. Haiven, of New York University, puts it: “I’ve certainly been very critical of them but I’m also very glad they exist. I think they do very important work sometimes, in their own way.”

He adds: “I think the answer is not so much that they should be doing something different but that there should be more alternatives out there. There is nothing else quite like Adbusters.”

Could such an alternative to Adbusters exist? Is there room or support for less radical, more focused organizations? How about a coalition of independent brands, like the Blackspot shoes, for an eco-minded consumer to turn to for the products they need? Only the most sustainable products make the cut, and it becomes the hippie goto place. An Amazon of sustainability and quality. Just spitballing.

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