Saturday, May 1, 2010

Culture Jamming a Commodity?

If you have been reading this I hope you can get a feel of what culture jammings purpose is. The reason for culture jamming is to state things that society normally does not see due to the way the media has shaped our opinions. It is a revolt against the norm in society.
With culture jamming on the Internet being a recent increasing movement, there have been many culture jamming sites that have received a lot of recognition for their non-mainstream opinions. Therefore, a lot of culture jamming websites have been using their recognition to make money. There are even culture jamming merchandise websites that specifically are there to sell culture jamming goods. Does this mean these jammers are going against their original feelings and becoming commodities? Are they becoming what they are fighting?

For example: Adbuster's claim they are divergent and with their Buy Nothing Day they clearly are not for consumerism, yet they have merchandise to buy on their website with their brand on it called Blackspot. Yes, it is not a mainstream brand but it still is a brand. Why would they want to become a commodity, when that is what they are against? Personally, I do not know the answer.

Jon Stewart, is claimed to be a culture jammer. Yet, he makes money of off DVD's and clothing from his show (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart). Does that go against the main idea of being a culture jammer? Or is it okay because he is specifically a political culture jammer? Do culture jammers who mock different forms of mainstream media have different views or duties to follow and to live by?

On, a website that sells merchandise, sells culture jamming clothing. Is it okay to pay to make a statment? Does that make culture jamming a brand by wearing shirts that other people make? Is the point of culture jamming in order to be a divergent voice it has to be free?
I believe it is still a divergent voice but I do not think the purpose of culture jamming is to make money off of it or to make statements. If anything, if you want to have merchandise with a divergent voice and culture jam you should make your own like was created in 2007 by a women named Lisa Anne Auerbach. Lisa Anne knits clothing (scarfs, sweaters, hats, gloves..etc) that make political statements. She wears them and walks around in them and sees peoples reactions. She also shows people how they can make what she made (which is a perfect example of spreading the alternative message). This is by far a divergent form of culture jamming because most people wear popular brands (including myself), therefore breaking away from that is a big deal in itself. I feel clothing is a great way to make a statement, why not make a political jam in the process?

To get back to my question: Is culture jamming a commodity? The answer is I do not know. I guess it can be. I do not necessarily think that is the main goal of a culture jammer but if it happens in the process when why not? I think it is okay unless, the jammer states in their jams that they are against corporations, big media conglomerates, and the mainstream. But again I really do not know? What do you think?


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