Culture Jamming: An Introduction

The Good Guide to Culture Jamming Introduction.

Jagannath ("master of the world" in Sanskrit) is an odd but kind little god from the Hindu tradition. Once a year, statues of him and his two siblings are mounted on 18-wheeled contraptions nearly five stories high. Row upon row of devotees perch on the different levels of these mobile thrones as they lurch through the streets of Puri, India, the ceremonial home of Jagannath. The dangerous devices have been known to cause accidental fatalities as they roll through the crowded streets, but a 14th-century European priest who witnessed the ceremony erroneously told of the devout flinging themselves in the chariot's path; that's the story that stuck.Today, we have our own odder and much less kind Jagannath-"Juggernaut," as the priest wrote it-and its fatalities don't often hew to the priest's early version; those it crushes aren't normally devotees. The 20,000 victims of Bhopal, the estimated 650,000 victims of the Iraq War (according to one study), or the unknown toll at the hands of impending climate calamity all just happen to be in the path of pan-national greed (or the global free market, as we hear it called), sometimes accidentally fulfilling its dictates, but never with any special enthusiasm.A number of decent people defend our modern juggernaut, noting that it has produced some wondrous things. Sure, they say, India's transformations in the global free market have produced millions of unemployed farmers, but it's also producing a flourishing middle class, thanks to the Bangalore phone banks and tech joints. And, though it's now bringing on the death of the planet, the free market has also brought unprecedented luxury and mobility. Even Nero couldn't eat kumquats in December!Yes, these folks say, this thing we call "the free market" may well be a hurtling, death-dealing entity, but it really doesn't mean you ill-you just have to get to know it, like a big clumsy pet, and it will respond with love instead of death. Buy a Prius. Invest ethically. Show Coke how to live.The problem is that our juggernaut is a force against which a few concerned citizens becoming vegetarians, planting trees in the Amazon, or riding bicycles are no match at all. And despite the almost psychotically sunny predictions of corporate seers like Stewart Brand and Kevin Kelly, the global free market doesn't want much besides profits and growth-its own survival comes in a very distant third.That's why we think this culture of death needs to be jammed. The way to jam it is by taking action like withdrawing corporate charters after their very first mass murder (no second chances!) or imposing a 1,000 percent tax increase on gas to make its price reflect its true cost to the world. Maybe then we'll have a hope of stopping the juggernaut from crushing us all.The trouble is, these actions require a government to enact them, and here in the U.S. we have somehow elected a government that, like the free market, is disinterested in our survival. Until this changes, our options are limited. We can throw hundreds of dollar bills onto the New York Stock Exchange floor, revealing the "profit motive" for the rooting of pigs that it is (Abbie Hoffman). We can make billboards that tell the true story about corporate caring (Billboard Liberation Front). We can simulate billionaires (Billionaires forBush) or fake our way onto television in a pantomime of what's wrong (that one was us). We can even demonstrate that we already have the technology we need to solve it all, as do the people behind WorldChanging, though they don't ever mention that what's essential and missing is a government that's up to the task.These are small, desperate measures, no better than saying "ride a bike." But there is hope. Unlike Jagannath, our own lumbering monster is not a god, but a flimsy and absurd little notion, summed up in one short phrase: Let the rich do what they want, and things will work out wonderfully for everyone. It isn't very hard to help others see this as the nonsense that it is, which is one reason that the outraged will soon be numerous enough to bring the chariot to a halt, just as they did with segregation, the Vietnam War, and other stupid, suicidal constructs that were once thought inevitable.Culture jamming is an attack on the authority of the dominant culture. Some culture jammers trick the mass media into passing subversive messages. Others construct new canvases to broadcast their ideas outside of the old structure.Culture jamming is not undertaken to promote a brand or any other commercial interest. There's another term for that: advertising.
Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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The Planet

Millions of people in over 150 countries across the globe marched for lawmakers and corporations to take action to help stop climate change on Friday, September 20.

The Climate Strikes were organized by children around the world as an extension of the of the "Fridays for Future" campaign. Students have been walking out of classrooms on Fridays to speak out about political inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

"We need to act right now to stop burning fossil fuels and ensure a rapid energy revolution with equity, reparations and climate justice at its heart," organizers say.

There's no doubt the visual images from the marches send a powerful message to those on the ground but especially those watching from around the world. GOOD's own Gabriel Reilich was on the scene for the largest of the Climate Strikes. Here are 18 of the best signs from the Climate Strike march in New York City.

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September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

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The Planet
via Apple

When the iPhone 11 debuted on September 10, it was met with less enthusiasm than the usual iPhone release. A lot of techies are holding off purchasing the latest gadget until Apple releases a phone with 5G technology.

Major US phone carriers have yet to build out the infrastructure necessary to provide a consistent 5G experience, so Apple didn't feel it necessary to integrate the technology into its latest iPhone.

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via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

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