05w29:1 The Rebel Sell

by timothy. 0 Comments

Good Reads Mailing List | 2005 week 29 number 1 (The Rebel Sell)

First, a friend who was in the audience that evening told me about it, and then I saw the video last December on Big Ideas. I taped it then actually, and as I watched it I thought, I should transcribe this audio for Goodreads. But at the time it didn’t seem practical. Winter passed. Snow fell, we had Christmas and the news of the Tsunami, and then a campaign of white bracelets to end global poverty, especially in Africa. By this time, I’d completed the transcription of another hour of video, that of Michael Ignatieff’s speech last March. So, I knew how to do it. I had the experience. I figured it’d take a couple of days. And when the video was re-broadcast the weekend before last, it was a reminder. Yes, I really should do this. And the process began. It took longer than a couple of days, but what’s the rush? The book has just been published in paperback. And perhaps it’ll be someone’s August reading, supplemented with this great introduction and summary by the authors given last October as part of the University of Toronto Reading Series. – Timothy


The Rebel Sell | Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter
“It may give us pause to consider that while Fight Club was hailed as ‘edgy’ and ‘subversive’ when it appeared in 1999, Rabbit, Run enjoyed enormous commercial success when it was first published?in 1960. If social criticism came with a ‘sell by’ date, this one would have been removed from the shelf a long time ago. The fact that it is still around, and still provokes awe and acclaim, makes one wonder if it is really a criticism or, rather, a piece of modern mythology. What Fight Club and Rabbit, Run present, in a user-friendly fashion, is the critique of mass society, which was developed in the late 1950s in classic works like William Whyte?s The Organization Man (1956), Vance Packard?s The Status Seekers (1959) and Paul Goodman?s Growing up Absurd (1960). The central idea is quite simple. Capitalism requires conformity to function correctly. As a result, the system is based upon a generalized system of repression. Individuals who resist the pressure to conform therefore subvert the system, and aid in its overthrow.”NOTE: introductory article from This Magazine

The Rebel Sell | Andrew Potter and Joseph Heath
“So the desire to conform, this idea that we’re all trying to conform, fails to explain the compulsive nature of consumer behavior, why we keep spending more and more, even though we’re all over extended, even though it doesn’t bring anybody any happiness in the long run. So the question is why do we lay the blame for consumerism on those who are struggling to keep up with the Jones’? Because the fault would actually appear to lie with the Jones’. They’re the ones who started it all, by trying to one-up their neighbors. It’s their desire to stand out from the crowd, to be better than everyone else, that is responsible for ratcheting up consumption standards in their community. In other words, it’s the non-conformists, not the conformists, who are driving consumer spending.”

Branded for life | Andy Beckett
“The Rebel Sell is a brave book. In places it is also unfair, light on evidence and repetitively polemical. But the argument it makes is important and original. Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter, both young Canadian academics, think that for nearly half a century critics of capitalism have profoundly misunderstood their enemy. Worse than that, the authors argue, these critics have – sometimes unintentionally, sometimes not – provided modern capitalism with the fuel it runs on. […] To Heath and Potter, the story of capitalism since the 60s is the story of business absorbing so much from the so-called counterculture of that decade and after, and vice versa, that the two effectively merged. By the early 21st century, the counterculture’s governing ideas of rebelliousness and ‘cool’ have become the ‘central ideology’ of consumerism. Wherever you find capitalism at its most vigorous – as in the marketing of sportswear and pop music – a ‘rebel sell’ philosophy is at work. “NOTE: (With a response – scroll down to ‘Brand Recognition’)

The Rebel Sell Official Website | Harper Collins

No logo? Not quite | Andrew Potter
“Here’s an interesting article about some recent polling data debunking the notion that today’s youth (18-24) are a bunch of anti-branding anti-capitalists. In fact, it would appear that this crew is actually less likely than the general population to be willing to spend more on ethically produced goods or environmentally-friendly products.”

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emailed by Timothy on Tuesday 19 July 2005 @ 5:27 PM

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