Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cathouse For Dogs

Joe Skaggs is a culture jammer/writer/prankster/media hoaxer, born in 1945. He has been well known for is bold culture jams such as "Cathouse for Dogs"(which I will discuss further), "the Fish Condos" (where Skaggs made an aquarium with rooms and furniture), "WALK RIGHT!" (where Skaggs made a group to enforce walking properly on the street and make it a law), and "The Solomon Project"(where Skaggs said he had made a a computer program that would work as both judge and jury and announce sentences. It said O.J. Simpson was guilty.)

Out of these examples of bold culture jamming and the many more Joe Skaggs has done. I am going to focus on the first one I mentioned: "Cathouse for Dogs."



In 1976, Joe Skaggs created a fake "Cathouse for Dogs" Advertisement in the Village Voice. He lead people to believe a brothel for dogs exists. " The ASPCA was outraged, the Soho News was incensed, and ABC devoted a segment to it which later received an Emmy nomination for best news broadcast of the year.

"When contacted by the news media, Skaggs got together 25 actors and 15 dogs and staged an elaborate performance in a SoHo loft -- a night in a bordello for dogs. The performance featured models posing with female dogs in look-a-like outfits, and actors posing with the male dogs waiting to view the bitches." Joe Skaggs

Joe Skaggs was bold enough to make people disgusted by his movements. The more intense you are and the more unusual the culture jam is the more awareness and responsiveness you are going to receive. The "Cathouse For Dogs" advertisement went a little too far but maybe that is what you need to do to get your message across. To make people believe the unthinkable. I think it is remarkable how once the mainstream news got a hold of it he went further, making is culture jam seem more and more like reality. That is dedication to your feelings. I think many of the culture jammers I have seen who turn mainstream or whose jams get in possession of the mainstream do not take any more risks other than the ones they have. I think it is admirable that Skaggs wants his stuff to seem as real as can be.

Joe Skaggs states about is culture jamming and media hoaxing:

"When I package a satire into a funny, sexually suggestive, controversial or highly technical wrapping, the media tend to fall for it hook, line and sinker. That's because I'm basically giving them what they want. A provocative story with great visuals that's outrageous yet plausible: A cathouse for dogs where you can get your dog sexually gratified for $50; a portable confessional booth offering religion on the move for people on the go; an auction for celebrity sperm.

Why are my pranks--or any pranks, really--successful? I believe we are all predisposed to be conned. As children, we are conned into behaving. Then we are conned into believing. The Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and the bogeyman occupy a great amount of our consciousness. Then there is religious training, lessons of morality that require great leaps of faith.

The bottom line is, we're taught to suspend critical thinking and analysis and to believe what we're told. So we grow up conning ourselves as we look for answers to unanswerable questions and miracle cures for all of our ills. And, with the help of a less-than-responsible press whose corporate bottom line frequently overrides sound journalistic judgment, we believe just about anything we see in the news." - JoeySkaggs.com

He feels society has been brought up to believe whatever we see and to not critically think about it. We just see it as it is what it is. Culture Jammers take that centralized, un-opinionized view, and smash it. They prove to people what reality is and that they are brainwashed. Therefore when they see an advertisement like "Cathouse For Dogs" they will believe that it is real until someone questions it.

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