Term Paper: Culture Jam: The Uncooling

Pages: 5 (1420 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Business - Advertising  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] These are also the people who enjoy watching video sex instead of experiencing the sensations of making love for themselves.

Again, when generalizing about the "people," Lasn's examples are drawn only from his own experiences. He argues, for example, that his "natural instinct for spontaneity, camaraderie and trust" has been eroded by consumer culture. As an indicator, Lasn points out that he no longer picks up hitchhikers.

Neither does he strike up conversations with strangers. Like him, Lasn believes that all Americans feel alienated and disconnected with the rest of society. Based on his own experiences, Lasn argues that he could see how "no one feels any sense of purpose" anymore.

It is during generalizations such as these that Lasn's book strikes a discordant note with a reader who does not fully agree with his pronouncements. It is irritating to be constantly told that one's disagreements stem from a position of having been brainwashed. It also takes great arrogance for an author to lecture his readers with such a messianic attitude. Lasn is almost saying, "Listen to me, the culture jammer, and I will free you from your brainwashed state."

Through the course of the book, Lasn takes on a variety of social issues that are related to or affected by corporate brainwashing.

In many of these issues, the author's own position does not remain constant. For example, when he first mentions media violence, Lasn points out that the effects of media violence on children are still unknown. One hundred and sixty-two pages later, however, Lasn refers to "the incontrovertible link between TV violence and real-world crime." In the succeeding pages, the author then states that there is a "clear cause-and-effect relationship" between these two variables. It seems that when Lasn tries to back his arguments up with facts or studies, the results can be contradictory.

Lasn does admit that not all corporate messages are brainwashing tools that are part of the giant corporate conspiracy.

There are movies that carry subliminal warnings regarding corporate propaganda. As examples, Lasn points to movies such as The Manchurian Candidate, Network and more recently, The Truman Show. These movies all earned critical and box-office acclaim.

However, if the reader applies Lasn's own arguments regarding corporate culture, it is difficult to imagine how Hollywood movie companies would produce and distribute such "culture jamming" work. After all, such films threaten to undermine the uncritical body of consumers upon which these very corporations depend. To carry the conspiracy theory further, the doubting reader could argue that Culture Jam is published by HarperCollins. Ironically, Lasn's critique of corporate culture is published by a company which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's media conglomerate.

Additionally, Lasn himself also admits that many consumers have become "jaded and media-savvy." Instead of drinking in corporate cultures, more individuals are becoming critical about what they see on television or read in the newspapers. Even the average couch potato flips through channels in an attempt to find better choices. These are all small but pro-active changes. It is difficult to paint everyone who remotely enjoys watching network television as a brainwashed drone.

The pages of Culture Jam drip with Lasn's thinly-veiled contempt for people who wear logo shirts, aspire to drive luxury cars, buy their clothes at Banana Republic or drink Coca-Cola. In their quest to be "cool," Lasn scores these consumers for their getting seduced into a "chicken-ass way to live."

While the book makes strong points regarding the growing hegemony of corporate culture and the subtle role it is imprinted into our lives, Lasn's constant tirades get tiring. He wants society to change, but it is also important to note that he wants the change to happen on his own terms.

If you do not agree with him it is because you are brainwashed.

He would have done better to talk about real issues that underlie corporate America -- such as child labor in Third World countries.

However, if a reader refuses the assumption that only stupid brainwashed people shop at the Gap, then Lasn's arguments ring hollow.

As a person who has on more than one occasion taken pleasure at some of commercial culture's offerings, this book ultimately fails to be a convincing read. [END OF PREVIEW]

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Culture Jam: The Uncooling.  (2004, March 29).  Retrieved May 25, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/culture-jam-uncooling/3492742

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"Culture Jam: The Uncooling."  Essaytown.com.  March 29, 2004.  Accessed May 25, 2019.