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.
Center for American Progress Action Fund

Tonight's Democratic debate is a must-watch for followers of the 2020 election. And it's a nice distraction from the impeachment inquiry currently enveloping all of the political oxygen in America right now.

For most people, the main draw will be newly anointed frontrunner Pete Buttigieg, who has surprisingly surged to first place in Iowa and suddenly competing in New Hampshire. Will the other Democrats attack him? How will Elizabeth Warren react now that she's no longer sitting alone atop the primary field? After all, part of Buttigieg's rise has been his criticisms of Warren and her refusal to get into budgetary specifics over how she'd pay for her healthcare plan.

The good news is that Joe Biden apparently counts time travel amongst his other resume-building experience.

Keep Reading Show less
Official White House Photo by Sonya N. Hebert

This election cycle, six women threw their hat in the ring for president, but is their gender holding them back? Would Americans feel comfortable with a woman leading the free world? Based on the last election, the answer is a swift no. And a new study backs this up. The study found that only 49% of American men would feel very comfortable with a woman serving as the head of the government. By comparison, 59% of women said they would feel comfortable with a woman in charge.

The Reykjavik Index for Leadership, which measures attitude towards women leaders, evaluated the attitudes of those living in the G7 countries as well as Brazil, China, India, and Russia. 22,000 adults in those 11 countries were surveyed on their attitudes about female leadership in 22 different sectors, including government, fashion, technology, media, banking and finance, education, and childcare.

Only two countries, Canada and the U.K., had a majority of respondents say they would be more comfortable with a female head of state. Germany (which currently has a female Chancellor), Japan, and Russia were the countries least comfortable with a female head of state.

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

If you are totally ready to move on from Donald Trump, you're not alone. According to a report last April from the Wason Center National Survey of 2020 Voters, "President Trump will be the least popular president to run for reelection in the history of polling."

Yes, you read that right, "history of polling."

Keep Reading Show less
via Around the NFL / Twitter

After three years on the sidelines, Colin Kapernick will be working out for multiple NFL teams on Saturday, November 16 at the Atlanta Falcons facility.

The former 49er quarterback who inflamed the culture wars by peacefully protesting against social injustice during the national anthem made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday.

Kaepernick is scheduled for a 15-minute on-field workout and an interview that will be recorded and sent to all 32 teams. The Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, and Detroit Lions are expected to have representatives in attendance.

RELATED: Joe Namath Says Colin Kaepernick And Eric Reid Should Be Playing In The NFL

"We like our quarterback situation right now," Miami head coach, Brian Flores said. "We're going to do our due diligence."

NFL Insider Steve Wyche believes that the workout is the NFL's response to multiple teams inquiring about the 32-year-old quarterback. A league-wide workout would help to mitigate any potential political backlash that any one team may face for making an overture to the controversial figure.

Kapernick is an unrestricted free agent (UFA) so any team could have reached out to him. But it's believed that the interested teams are considering him for next season.

RELATED: Video of an Oakland train employee saving a man's life is so insane, it looks like CGI

Earlier this year, Kaepernick and Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid reached a financial settlement with the league in a joint collusion complaint. The players alleged that the league conspired to keep them out after they began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016.

Before the 2019 season, Kaepernick posted a video of himself working out on twitter to show he was in great physical condition and ready to play.

Kaepnick took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in 2013.

He has the 23rd-highest career passer rating in NFL history, the second-best interception rate, and the ninth-most rushing yards per game of any quarterback ever. In 2016, his career to a sharp dive and he won only of 11 games as a starter.