Am I a downer? When culture jamming gets annoying…

[Do] advertisers have any legitimate right to invade every nook and cranny of our mental and physical environment? (Naomi Klein, No Logo)

Here’s a word of warning: I’m not as articulate as Naomi Klein. But I know that I’ve got an opinion. In fact, I’m very opinionated, just ask anyone I’ve ever known, just ask poor JJ. Seriously. And I get it from my dad, who has an opinion about EVERYTHING, including things he knows nothing about. Anyway, I’ll try not to do that too much because there’s a lot I know nothing about.

But this is different.

In my heart and mind (if not in action), I’m a culture jammer. I’m a Gen-Xer, after all, and it’s our duty to mistrust and, therefore, busting ads since the early 90s branded us as the “disaffected generation”, the “unemployed generation”, the “depressed generation” (yes, we were depressed long before emo kids discovered black eyeliner), the “politically apathetic generation”, the ”don’t give a crap” generation.

Well I flipping care. I hate ads. I would rather channel surf for 10 minutes than face another ad. There’s the assumption that people are so stupid that we don’t know what we want to buy so we have to be told by an ad. It’s like cold callers who try to convince you that you need a new [insert consumable here]. Let’s face it, if I want it or need it, I’ll find it and get it. No amount of convincing me is going to get me to buy it so stop calling me during America’s Next Top Model.

But that’s not what this post is about.

I get really incensed whenever I see this billboard.

And, trust me, it’s everywhere – it’s on each side of every freeway and every main road in Melbourne, including the main street that welcomes you to my suburb. My suburb! The one where people are too busy working 16 hour shifts in soup shops or dealing with four kids under ten, or dealing ice, to be wanting any kind of sex, let alone the longer lasting variety (unless they’re smoking ice).

But that’s not the point of this post either. I’m just tired of seeing every piece of air space or wall as an ad. When did I give permission for this assault on my line of vision? Who decided that it was OK to rent this space? Just like owning the first however many centimeters of the land below my house, I want to take back possession of my immediate air space. It’s mine. I want it back.

But that’s not the point of this post either. As I said earlier, in my heart (if not my hip pocket) I’m actually anti-corporate and these things make me laugh:






So what I want to know is the following:

  • If I grow my own organic veggies but my friends buy theirs at Coles, one apple per bag, should I highlight the error of their ways?
  • If my friend gives her 3 year-old a glass of Ribena (which has about as much sugar as Coke), is it okay for me to cry out in shock as the kid lifts the glass to her lips?
  • If I don’t trust the media because it’s all owned by a select few individuals who are deep inside the pockets of all of our politicians, is it better to read the Age, Herald-Sun, Naomi Klein’s website, Adbusters, MS Magazine, Colours Magazine or watch the ABC news?

But I’m not sue that’s the point of this post either. So what is the point?

1. Do my friends think I’m annoying and preachy?

And, more importantly:

2. Does my bum look big in these jeans?