Vandalism In 'Fight Club' By Kalle Lasn

Words: 1006
Pages: 5

If advertising didn’t exist, would we know what to consume? Without brands, and their logos, slogans, and jingles, shopping would be an exasperating process of sifting through generic goods in search for a product that we can trust. Trust in a brand isn’t built through consistent successful use of a product, but through ads that tell us to – at least, that’s what Kalle Lasn implies. These advertisements help us satisfy Veblen’s first rule of consumption; they inform us of the correct goods to consume. But who determines what is correct and what is incorrect? Lasn would tell you that corporations pay millions of dollars to do so. Lasn’s solution is culture jamming – the movement to disengage the dominance of consumerist corporate culture.
While it may seem like a new concept, culture jamming has existed for years. Culture jammers turn marketed media images inside out, in turn uncooling the cool. These acts of what seem like vandalism are seen throughout the movie Fight Club. In an attempt to destroy media, they erase video tapes, vandalize billboards (also seen in This Space
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According to Potter and Heath, this is because they have “failed to understand the true nature of consumer society.” They argue that movies like Fight Club and American Beauty are critiques on mass society, not critiques of consumerism. Capitalism requires conformity; those who refuse to conform (jammers) disrupt the system. “Rebelling against mass society is not the same thing as rebelling against consumer society.” Tyler (Fight Club) and Lester (American Beauty) reject real jobs, bash education, refuse sexual repression, and avoid standardized goods. All of their actions go against capitalism and the conformities that it requires. What we need to understand is that consumption is not about conformity, but distinction. “People consume in order to set themselves apart from