Saturday, October 25, 2008

Culture Jamming: More Confusing Than Ever!

So, I'm going to admit that I've been keeping track of all the places the "Chan We Need" pictures have shown up on the internet. Every time I think the 15 minutes are over another site links to them. Thanks for bringing a smile to my face, guys. Everyone at Nonsense Humor Magazine is tickled pink by all of this.

Well, except for Pilot...she's still apathetic.

Anyway, one of the terms that many bloggers are using to describe our little stunt is "Culture Jamming".

I'm gonna admit...I don't think I had even heard of that term prior to this. To quote wikipedia, culture jamming is: individualistic turning away from all forms of herd mentality – including that of movements – and by that definition, culture jamming is generally not treated as a movement. Culture jamming is not defined by any specific political position or message, nor even by any specific cultural position or message. The common thread is mainly an urge to poke fun at the homogeneous nature of popular culture, often by means of guerrilla communication (communication unsanctioned or opposed by government or other powers-that-be).

Huh? Ok, how about this:

Culture jamming sometimes entails transforming mass media to produce ironic or satirical commentary about itself, using the original medium's communication method...To have a good laugh (and to encourage others to do likewise) at the expense of prevailing social currents - many purveyors of which, in the opinion of many culture jammers, take themselves too seriously. Even culture jammers themselves are not immune to being the subjects of culture jamming, if they appear to be on their way to becoming as institutionalized and humorless as the original objects of culture jammers' attention...To reawaken a sense of wonder and fascination about one's surrounding environment, inspired by the frequent intentional ambiguity of a specific culture jamming technique, which stimulates personal interpretation and independent thinking...To demonstrate contrasts between iconic images, practices or attitudes and the realities or perceived negative side of the item object of the jamming (often the target is a trapping of monolithic power structures such as corporations, government or religions). This is often done symbolically, with the "detournement" of pop iconography...To provoke an interest in civic engagement and social connectedness.

Alright that makes sense. I can definitely see that term being used for this. I just called it performance art, but culture jamming certainly is a better term.

The wikipedia page also tells me that the term was coined by the experimental band Negativeland, which to me is really funny, because I'm pretty sure I own every album Negativland has ever made, and still have never heard this term.

So, I'm not sure how much longer this internet meme is going to last, but we're very glad that we got to be a part of "underground culture" (at least according to wikipedia).

By the way, Pilot's "I Scissored Sarah Palin" picture has also been everywhere on the internet. Congrats to her.


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