Wednesday, December 7, 2011

DUMPING ON THE FLAG

My Pal John Runyon sends me this email with a picture of a naked man squatting over an American flag, defecating for the amusement of several dozen onlookers.

It’s another wonderful day of occupying Wall Street, Oakland, San Francisco or Your Town, U.S.A.

Runyon says I ought to write a blog.

What the heck can you say?

I’m sure there are city ordinances against defecating in public places. The taxpayers have ponied up quite a bit of money to provide a sanitary sewer system to protect the public health, for good reason.

So this jerk doesn’t care about the public health. Doesn’t give much of a damn about his fellow citizens or himself, for that matter.

And quite obviously, he doesn’t like the United States of America.

Makes you wonder what he does care about. Why is he doing it? Why is he out there? Why are any of them out there, making a fuss, taunting the police, getting themselves pepper sprayed, camping out and refusing to go away?

What’s it all about, anyway?

I looked it up on Wikipedia, and I read about the founder of the occupy movement.

His name is Kalle Lasn. Born in Estonia in 1942, he migrated to Germany, then to Australia. In the 1960’s he moved to Tokyo, where he started a market research firm. Now he lives in Canada and runs a company known as Adbusters.

Best I can figure out, Adbusters is a non profit corporation, supported in part by Tides Center, a left-leaning clearinghouse for charitable donations, and by contributions from the general public.

It has to get donations, because Adbusters doesn’t do anything that makes money. They publish a magazine which carries no advertising and sells no subscriptions.

So what exactly does Adbusters do?

It describes itself as an “anti consumerist” organization dedicated to “jamming the culture” of western civilization.

Hard to figure out just what that means. The Adbusters logo looks like an American flag, except that the fifty stars are replaced by fifty familiar corporate logos.

Adbusters has done some good. They came up with “Joe Chemo”, whose last name was shortened from Chemotherapy, as a spoof of R. J. Reynolds’ successful cigarette advertising campaign starring “Joe Camel.”

But Lasn has come a long way from getting people to kick the habit.

Perhaps, at seventy years of age, he longs to return to the Woodstock hell raising of his youth.

Whatever. On August 13, 2011, Adbusters ran a centerfold challenge asking readers and followers to gather on Wall Street and protest the wealth and power it represents. The ad got a lot of attention, especially among young people. The date they picked was September 17, celebrated in the United States as Constitution Day.

Lasn says he got the idea from the riots in Egypt. Of course, he didn’t endorse that kind of violence, and he hasn’t openly called for the overthrow of the government.

But still.

Still you have to wonder what it is he expected his readers to do. This is a man who has said, “I have a feeling that right now, this human experiment on planet Earth is hitting the wall.”

He calls himself a ‘creative.’ That’s somebody who designs advertising. “We are the cool-makers and the cool-breakers,” he says. And he insists that ad men, more than any other profession, have the power to change the world.

His book is called, Culture Jam: How to Reverse America’s Suicidal Consumer Binge – and Why We Must.

I can’t wait to read it. Especially the part about how to make the world a better place by depositing human feces on Old Glory.

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