Read Nation of Rebels: Why Counterculture Became Consumer Culture by Joseph Heath Andrew Potter Online


In this wide-ranging and perceptive work of cultural criticism, Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter shatter the most important myth that dominates much of radical political, economic, and cultural thinking. The idea of a counterculture -- a world outside of the consumer-dominated world that encompasses us -- pervades everything from the antiglobalization movement to feminism anIn this wide-ranging and perceptive work of cultural criticism, Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter shatter the most important myth that dominates much of radical political, economic, and cultural thinking. The idea of a counterculture -- a world outside of the consumer-dominated world that encompasses us -- pervades everything from the antiglobalization movement to feminism and environmentalism. And the idea that mocking or simply hoping the "system" will collapse, the authors argue, is not only counterproductive but has helped to create the very consumer society radicals oppose.In a lively blend of pop culture, history, and philosophical analysis, Heath and Potter offer a startlingly clear picture of what a concern for social justice might look like without the confusion of the counterculture obsession with being different....

Title : Nation of Rebels: Why Counterculture Became Consumer Culture
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ISBN : 9780060745868
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Number of Pages : 368 Pages
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Nation of Rebels: Why Counterculture Became Consumer Culture Reviews

  • Cate
    2019-04-22 09:16

    From the time I was about 15 I began wondering why the fashion styles of various counterculture movements seemed to be absorbed by the mainstream (okay, so really I was pissed that the same kid that made fun of me two years before for wearing this or that was now wearing this or that item, only now it was considered "cool"). I later came to the conclusion that most people involved in the counterculture do--the styles had been co-opted by corporate marketing schemes. Turns out I, along with the rest of the counterculture, was wrong. Heath and Potter argue that counterculture hasn't been co-opted by consumer culture, but rather that counterculture is consumer culture. In other words, there is nothing to sell out because the whole ideology of the counterculutre is false. The highly idividualistic nature of the counterculture (i.e., "rebellion") drives consumerism. Individualism, or distinction, can be equated with "scarcity" in economic terms. The more distinct (or scarce) a trend is, the more status it gives the individual. This explains why former enthusiasts of Green Day suddenly turned on the band when they signed with a major label--listening to the band had decreased in distinction--it no longer set the individual apart from their peers, in short, it became "uncool." Heath and Potter make a good case that counterculture thinking has done enormous harm to modern left-wing politics. Instead of working towards gradual reform through democratic processes (i.e., marketplace reforms) the counterculture instead expects an overthrow of the entire system merely because they stage "Buy Nothing Days" and pay $8.99 for a box of organic q-tips. In my opinion the book is right on. Unfortunately I don't think that counterculture movement is on the way out, due to one fact that Heath and Potter make a point of--its just way more fun to overthrow the system (i.e., deviance) than it is to reform it (i.e., dissent).

  • Szplug
    2019-04-12 15:15

    Joseph Heath is a Canadian academic whose writing I have consistently enjoyed; Andrew Potter, who has subsequently moved to Macleans where he has a column and blogs regularly, by the requirement to churn out a steady stream of short pieces has inevitably wound up being a bit more hit-and-miss: however, IMO their partnership in jointly penning The Rebel Sell worked out splendidly, and I hope that the future might yet contain another book or two that they will approach in the same authorial manner.The Rebel Sell sparked interest up here mainly because of the shots the pair took at Naomi Klein, in particular ridiculing her complaint in No Logo about the hipster wannabes who had invaded her slickly grungy Slavic neighborhood to the point that the original cool kids wanted to pick up their studio lofts and go sulk. This episode was just one of several that the authors—who display a marked affinity for using Hobbes as a preferred analyst of societal problems over that twentieth century wunderkind, Marx—used to reinforce their central contention: that all of the hand-waving and utopian shenanigans and jamming that the counter-culture engages in have only ever served to produce the paradoxical effect of reinforcing the consumer culture that they desperately wish to overturn. The stark reality, say the duo in their placid but relentless tone, is that these counter-culture groups have merely become another player in globalized capitalism, finding a niche market and setting up the infrastructure to enable its exploitation and keep the almighty dollar on the move.Indeed, Heath and Potter turn the screws of (mild) sarcasm in order to point out how—seeing the ineffectiveness of the left's perennial dream of a revolution that will topple the hated marketplace and its political minions—it would be more productive for them to join in the working of the long-established political system currently in place; that incremental changes and patient legislation and careful opinion swaying has always produced the most palpable achievements in working towards a more just, more equitable, and more environmentally aware society. In a way, the (then) young authors are modern-day followers in the footsteps of Raymond Aron, upholding the necessity of rationally approaching the cultural and political problems at hand and striving to operate within the existing framework in order to implement one's goals while pointing out the destructive futility of revolutionary idealism.It's all remarkably sensible, orderly, and reasonable—thoroughly Canadian—at heart, and thus something innately persuasive to like-minded thinkers. Whether it will appeal to those whom the authors wish to sway—members of the progressive left—is a more debatable question. Certainly, the mocking tone and dismissal of the culture-jammers will likely turn many of the latter away before the meaty part of the book has been reached. I found it to be enjoyable and educational while written in a workmanlike fashion—neither brilliant nor boring, but one that unfolds in a continually interesting and thoughtful manner. It's not perfect—there are mistakes, straw-men and questionable interpretations to be found within—but then neither are the societies they are suggesting we endeavor within. Perfection may sell well on the counter-cultural market, but it has so far proved impossible to attain in man or his institutions.

  • Andrew
    2019-04-10 16:23

    Despite agreeing with nearly all of the main points in this book, "Rebel Sell" was a lousy read. Heath and Potter's arguments are poor and often backed up with little more than assertions, such that even when the reader can see that they are correct about something, one is annoyed by their intellectual dishonesty and flimsy rhetoric. For example, they discuss Malcolm Gladwell's analysis of the concept of “cool”, but unfortunately this theory doesn't mesh with the point they are trying to make. Do they weigh the relative evidence for each theory? Do they counter Gladwell with their own arguments? Nope, they have a single paragraph which asserts, in effect, “he's wrong, we're right”. Another example of the author's sloppy logic occurs in the discussion of the politics surrounding the counterculture's response to uniform, in which they write this howler: "Given the martial archetype, it is hardly surprising that uniforms-and the men and women who wear them - are treated with tremendous scorn and hostility by cultural rebels...Throw in the fact that most people in uniforms are agents of government-sanctioned violence or coercion and it is easy to see why the decision to wear a uniform was seen not only as an unappealing lifestyle choice, but as manifestly dangerous. It was inevitable, then, that the Vietnam War served as a lightening rod for countercultural protest". That's right, folks, get ready to re-write your history books, the opposition to the Vietnam War was REALLY due to the fact that the people fighting it wore uniforms.More importantly, to say that the authors paint in broad strokes (as they admit in the afterword) is a gross understatement. Every single person or organization who has ever complained about "the system" in any context is lumped together. (Well, this isn't exactly true. One of Heath and Potter's assumptions is that the counterculture is completely ineffective, and so anyone who successfully changed the system is by definition not part of the counterculture. Circular reasoning aside, the notion that Martin Luther King was not a revolutionary is outright laughable).The authors assert that the counterculture wants nothing but a total overhaul of the system, and that in this they have been completely ineffective. Granted. But they go on to claim that the counterculture has been ineffective in fostering any change, and that it is in fact counterproductive. There is no hard evidence offered for this belief. In fact, they do point out the enormous social changes that have taken place since the 60's. The book also feels completely out of order; major concepts are defined hundreds of pages after they have been discussed in detail. For example, the authors are exceptionally vague about the nature, extent, and description of the counterculture. There are plenty of examples here and there, but over a hundred pages into the book there is no coherent description of the target of the authors' polemic. We are left wondering is they are setting up a strawman? Lots of works are cited that are supposedly representative of the counterculture, but we're still left with the sense that the counterculture has something to do with hippies, punks, Adbusters, and Naomi Klein (and, apparently, the entire political left). The best parts of the book, by far, are the conclusion (in which they clearly state what they have been hinting at for the previous 300 pages) and the afterword (in which they defend their conclusions from selected criticisms). This fact makes something startlingly clear; this book is little more than a 25 page article padded with hundreds of page of more or less supporting facts and arguments. The first ten chapters really add very little to their argument, while the authors' snarky tone and dismissive attitude could put off more than a few readers who could otherwise approve of much of their central thesis.

  • Ron
    2019-04-04 11:01

    The authors make some very valid points and ably debunk some of the more fallacious thinking of the left, but the further we read into this book, the more uncomfortable we become. The authors have clearly abandoned their punk roots--and any credibility they may have had--by constructing numerous false arguments based on specious premises. Their logic is flawless for the most part, but errors in data will always lead to the false conclusion that society's problems are merely technical and can thus be easily solved. What little hope I felt early on in their critique of the Boomers (that they never sold out because they never were an alternative) was lost when I realized that these were the second generation punks of the 80s, raised on Reagan and spouting crypto-fascist beliefs that support the modern techno-capitalist-corporate infrastructure and see it as a panacea (modern philosophy rationalizing reification, as Zerzan might say). Sorry guys, but the original punks had an integrity that they still possess and knowledge of anthropological, rather than historical, truths that shred the logic in this book and reveal it for the incoherent right wing polemic that it is. Shameful.

  • Kersplebedeb
    2019-04-10 15:27

    it's always fun to read something which combines pop culture and games theory logic, and this book does take both these and tries to use them as weapons against any radical or revolutionary left politics, arguing instead for something like social democracy. The authors make many good points, but they also either misunderstand or dishonestly misrepresent a lot of the cultural politics they are mocking.

  • David
    2019-04-06 15:03

    As an extension of Thomas Frank's thesis in The Conquest of Cool, I think that Nation of Rebels has its merits. What I found most interesting and compelling--the incorporation of theorizing about collective action, Veblen's unfortunately neglected argument about conspicuous consumption and the like--actually seemed quite sobering upon reading the book. I knew what the authors were arguing yet their presentation of the ideas, perhaps because of their "one-sided" character (as some complainers out there have put the matter), seemed to push me out of an intellectual torpor.What so many reviewers seem to not even mention is that the thesis of the book (that there really is no such thing as a "counterculture" these days, or that the notions, ideologies, and practices of any "counterculture" today are actually not oppositional to the interests of capital) is something worth thinking about very, very carefully. What sorts of resistance, if that is what one should do, are effective? The forms of aesthetic protest that seem to characterize the various sub- and countercultures of the last 40 years have, they claim, not produced the substantive, wide-spread socio-economic changes desired by the selfsame counterculture. This is not because of a rapacious capitalist economy that empties these seemingly radical gestures of their critical content (in other words, because people "sell out") but rather because the very form of the protest was unable to accommodate critical content to begin with. In other words, the "lifestyle" choices (often highly aestheticized) and supposedly critical art-objects that were produced in order to promote revolution, were never antithetical to the interests of capital, but were rather expressions of its very spirit.Of the many shortcomings of the book, what I most wonder about is the tendency to think of social change within what seem to be merely socio-economic terms. Granted, capitalism does seem to be the "ultimate horizon" of any cultural and social forms in the modernized, Western world these days, and opposition to it does seem as if it could provide a common ground for a variety of social movements (thus cutting across the supposedly incommensurable differences between these very groups). However, I wonder if the the thesis put forward by Heath is too dependent on a specific understanding or goal of social resistance. Heath's rejection of the totalizing theories of mass society, whether they be from the Frankfurt School down to Foucault seems as if it would leave room for small gestures of resistance. Yet no mention of such effective forms of resistance is mentioned, as far as I can remember.Anyhow, now that I've bloviated for some length now, I think I'll get back to reading and thinking.

  • Nicole
    2019-03-30 08:19

    Awhile ago I saw a postcard on a wall at Loyola for an upcoming lecture about the evils of marketing. Someone had written on the card, "this postcard is marketing." I laughed so hard when I saw that- I've always been frustrated by people who rail against consumer culture but are obviously participating in it themselves. So when this book started out with a story about Adbusters putting out a shoe called "Blackspot" that was supposed to be an anti-brand answer to Nike, Adidas, etc., with the irony being that by selling a shoe called "Blackspot" they are creating and marketing a brand, I knew it was right up my alley. (I've always found everything about Adbusters to be ironic). Counterculture will always find its way into mainstream culture, even drive it. This book takes a long look at the history of counterculture movements and how entrenched they actually are in the bigger consumer picture. I always think of this book when I hear someone rail against a band "selling out." According to this book, there is no such thing.Also excellent: their discussion of why "Buy Nothing Day" is actually ineffective in the bigger economic picture, and why "Earn Less Day" would make more sense for what they are trying to achieve but probably not go over as well.

  • Nick
    2019-04-15 08:07

    General Summary"The Rebel Sell" is a book written by left-wing authors who are very much 'progressive change through legislation' advocates, and who are very much against the entire concept of the counterculture. The authors argue that there is no 'system' or vast international conspiracy, and the idea of counterculture is one which acts contrary to the true needs of society. In effect, they posit that counterculture rebels thwart progressive change by shifting focus in the wrong direction. Moreover, they posit that capitalism is not inherently evil, nor are markets; that the counterculture's push for individuality and its anti-conformist attitude has actually spurred consumerism and gross capitalism like never before in human history, and that the entire movement is based on the flawed ideas of Freud, Marx, and others, as well as a deeply ingrained fear created by the existence of Nazi Germany. The authors claim that virtually all problems attacked by counterculturalists as 'mass society' problems, are actually collective action problems, which can only be solved by 'arms control agreements' in the form of regulation, taxation or other legislative methods. This contrasts with various counterculture responses, including rebellion, individualistic consumer spending which doesn't account for the existence of positional goods (positional goods are things such as 'cool,' 'good taste,' and living in choice neighbourhoods), not voting, destruction of property and so on. Also integral to the authors' arguments: they propose that (western) society is not one of pressured conformity, but instead one of hyper individuality and competitive consumption.The authors have, as their ideal and guiding focus for the book, a positive potential market reality achieved through legislation, which encompasses part of the following:"There would be no monopolies, no barriers to entry in any industry. There would be no advertising; competition would be based entirely upon the price and quality of goods being offered. There would be no information asymmetries -- consumers would be perfectly informed about what they were buying. Firms would not behave opportunistically toward their customers or suppliers, and there would be no windfall profits. And, most importantly, all externalities would be internalized; firms would have to factor the full social cost of their actions into every decision made."ReviewThe Good- Authors consistently challenged -- often successfully -- my viewpoints, politics and elements of being - The detailed and convincing argument that 'cool' is the new status symbol, and, like being in the upper class, cool is inherently a positional good and thus something that only an elite few can ever attain, and which must constantly be chased -- which is financial gravy for corporations- Authors consistently demonstrate how real world problems can be viewed as collective action problems and generally provide rudimentary solutions to these problems - Authors go into detail of opponent's beliefs and theories, usually presenting the opposing view thoroughly before attacking it- The authors successfully argue that much of our percieved reality is based on the countercultural example of 1950s USA; an example which hasn't existed for a long time, and never really existed the way it was depicted. They explain why suburbs look the way they do in excellent fashion as well.- The authors were able to effectively demonstrate that virtually everyone is involved in competitive consumption, even those who think themselves above it- The book begins provocatively with Kurt Cobain, and is full of interesting examples, fascinating bits of side-knowledge, and plenty of reason to keep reading- The authors cover, to some extent, nearly all aspects of the counter cultureThe Bad- Authors failed to cover corruption and the obvious and demonstrable corrupt interlinks between government and major corporate interests (see: the Bush administration, Paul Martin, Montreal and Quebec politicians, etc. etc.). Likewise, they discount obvious links between big pharma manufacturing both cancer drugs and things which cause cancer. Not to say that the countercultural solution is the only answer to these problems, but that the authors simply failed to cover these important topics and explain how legislation could fix these collective action problems in detail. Raises the question: can legislation solve all coruption if (many/all of ) those enacting the legislation are themselves corrupt?- The authors too easily discredit elements of the environmental movement and participatory democracy- Chapter 10 is mostly garbage- Positive, grass-roots-level societal activities, which could be construed as part of the 'counterculture' -- or not -- are not really given credit- The authors sometimes use vitriolic arguments, strawman arguments, and sometimes come off as complete a$%holes and/or hypocrites- Aren't competitive consumption and conformity one and the same by some estimation? Do people not competitively consume in order to conform to minimum societal standards? Society may not be forcing you to conform through a vast repressive conspiracy, but how many 'counterculturalists' actually believe that anyway? Not addressed fully. - The authors don't really cover protests, but seem to dismiss protest as a form of effective political change, post-civil rights marches- Occasionally, sections of chapters are poorly written and confusing. The authors lose the reader in a maze of hearsay, conjecture, rambling and point-hopping (and they have professional editors!)- championing business travel and disregarding CouchSurfing/volunteering/aid work- They really need numbered footnotes or endnotesOn My VerdictI gave this book 4 stars, primarily because I found it immensely challenging to read, in terms of challenging my own beliefs. As much as I wanted to throw it at the wall occasionally, and as quick as I was to point out its numerous flaws, scribbling madly in the margins, the authors, more-often-than-not, made excellent points, and, as with another Joseph Heath book I read "Filthy Lucre: Economics for People who Hate Capitalism", I am now forced to re-structure my personal politics and beliefs. This goes to show that, while the book and the arguments made therein are far from flawless, they really made me THINK, which is incredibly important in today's world of non-fiction left-wing books which consistently preach to the choir and fail to reflect or challenge left wing or progressive politics. Most books do not look at the history of counterculture and ask: Why hasn't rebelling worked? Will it ever? What is our reality based on and what are some proven, effective, albeit slow, strategies for positive change? This book does.*****Chapter Breakdown, Mostly for my Records******Intro and Chapter 1: The Birth of CountercultureVery good explanations of elements of Marxian and Freudian theory, general thesis posited, argue that society hasn't been overthrown because there is no real reason to, and that intellectuals have too often imposed their views on the masses. Key Questions: What if everyone in society went to university and had free access to excellent education, whatever that is? Would the world be a better place? Would you have a job? Would people be happier?Chapter 2: Freud Goes to CaliforniaFreud's theories discussed, particularly in relation to repression. The authors present his theories in detail, in order to dismiss them later on. They do, however, agree with aspects of his theories, such as his theory of humor (because no one has advanced a better one). I have to agree with aspects of his theories as well. The chapter covers cultural history and the history of civilizing in depth, and moves on into popular culture (including unfair depictions of "American Beauty" and "Fight Club", sexual repression, Marcuse and a Freud/Marx hybrid. Authors demonstrate ignorance in terms of hallucinogenic drugs, and don't seem to think having fun and freedom are worth fighting for; while pointing out the hollow reasons many protesters have to protest (eg. wealthy kids who think it's cool to protest).Chapter 3: Being NormalSimilarities and differences in right and left-wing ideologies, defence of coercion, introduction of game theory and collective action problems, organized crime as an 'arms control agreement' to solve the prisoners' dilemma for criminals, civil disobediance vs deviance, Hobbes vs Freud, no trust without rules, military arms races, symbolic cultural rules, 'not everyone thinks the same way you do,' co-optation vs adaptation, counterculturalists reject workable solutions in favour of 'deeper' solutions which never happen.Chapter 4: I Hate Myself and I want to Buy"The critique of mass society has been one of the most powerful forces driving consumerism for the past fourty years," "whenever you look at the list of consumer goods that people don't really need, what you invariably see is a list of consumer goods that middle-aged intellectuals don't need. Budweiser bad. Single-malt Scotch good," the rebel consumer, Thorstein Veblen and competitive consumption, consumer culture as an arms race, defensive consumption (what I see as a form of conformity), aesthetics/classes and positional goods, calling trends co-optation allows the cycle of counterculture rebirth to continue, attack on Naomi Klein.Chapter 5: Extreme RebellionThe unabomber and others, deviance vs dissent in Black culture, attack on "Bowling for Columbine," Foucault and confinement, subversiveness, organic food elitism, critique of downshifting (which I, in turn, critique).Chapter 6: Uniforms and UniformityStar Trek, the military, strong defense of school uniforms and attack on fashion culture, Ivan Illich, vs Alissa Quart; a stumbling chapter with a great conclusion.Chapter 7: From Status Seeking to Cool HuntingAuthors disclose what they have bought to be cool, cool as a positional good, history of American class structure and partial-transfer from status/land elites to wealth/cool elite, bohemian vs bourgeois becoming bobo (bohemian/bourgeois), creatives and counterculture as the new high culture (authors meekly accept that the wealthiest old elites still exist), somewhat mistaken or outdated view of creative workspaces, 'cool' cities/centres, Advertising: authors posit that it makes consumerism worse, but does not create it, and persuades rather than brainwashes people (later they account for advertising's more dangerous influence on the young, old, or illiterate); excellent arguments with some poor examples; Brands: selling cool, consumer confidence in brand uniformity; our predictability, diffusion of trends, the acknowledgement of the existence of viral marketing, ads as a collective action problem (solved by raising taxes and removing advertising as a claimable business expense).Chapter 8: Coca-ColonizationThe birth of suburban housing and why they all look the same, network externalities and social contexts (eg many people bought fax machines because each fax machine needed another to communicate, etc.), North American crop history and why wheat/corn/soy are dominant, bad free-range chicken argument; good motto: "Does my individuality create more work for other people? If the answer is yes, then you should be prepared to pay more," the pros of franchises and chains and the difference between them (and pros of uniformity), language uniformity, Globalization: stop protesting trade itself and challenge individual problems instead.Chapter 9: Thank You, IndiaThe lure of the exotic and the other in society and countercultural thinking, escapism, strange attack on the voluntary simplicity movement and discussion of religion and spirituality, the percieved countercultural view vs reality of Eastern and Western cultures, Asia's hyper, guilt-free consumerism; stupid 'mother earth' argument, countercultural rebels as the shock troops of mass tourism, championing business travel, vs alternative health treatments and supplements. Hard-hitting chapter with great points and serious omissions.Chapter 10: Spaceship EarthOn technology: debate, freedom vs enslavement, hypocrisy of countercultural protestors with ipods etc., strange and confusing arguments, terrible examples, bad critique of the AT movement, good motto: "What if everyone did that?" test of sustainability, cyberlibertarianism (pre-facebook), problems with internet anonymity, outdated thinking regarding spam and social networks, lame critique of think globally, act locally; critique of bobos (not me!), simplified attack on organic/local, deep vs shallow ecology, great explanation of tradeable pollution permits. Great conclusion, terrible chapter. Why can't environmentalists advocate for both deep and shallow change??Chapter 11: ConclusionGood summation, bad attack on participatory democracy which again ignores the ability of small-scale and large-scale politics to function simultaneously, ridiculous denial of environmental regulations "being weakened by pressures emanating from global competition," unless they (do not state) but mean that they are weakened by individual and corporate greed; I completely agree that those 'on the left' must continue to strive for positive political change, such as by fighting Harper through postive campaigns and voting for the Green Party federally.

  • ChromaticRat
    2019-04-02 09:26

    The authors advocate social change through community organizing, coalitions, scientific research and legislative action. This book is not a guide, though, it is a long rambling rant against countercultural protest."...we argue that decades of countercultural rebellion have failed to change anything because the theory of society on which the countercultural idea rests is false...The culture cannot be jammed because there is no such thing as 'the culture' or 'the system'... countercultural rebellion is ... counterproductive... Not only does it distract energy and effort away from the sort of initiatives that lead to concrete improvements in people's lives, but it encourages wholesale contempt for such incremental changes."The heavy sarcasm with which the authors presented opposing theories obscured their arguments. I think they said capitalism and a market economy are unavoidable and actually the most effective and efficient way to meet the needs of the largest number of people. I think they argued for a free market, except with subsidies for people whose situations required non-standard goods. Other than these folks (undefined, but presumably anyone needing adaptive products like wheelchairs, eyeglasses, diabetic foods, hypoallergenic products), they said everyone else ought to make do with whatever can be most cheaply mass produced. If consumerism is a problem, they argued, it is fed by people seeking distinction from the masses "'s the non-conformists, not the conformists, who are driving consumer spending." But do they think consumerism is a problem?The writing style too frequently devolves into the argumentative hyperbolic style of morning radio hosts, trying to provoke a reaction. (Vegetarianism conflated with bulimia as a form of obsessive neurosis, frequent comparisons with Nazism, etc.) I would recommend the introduction to this book, perhaps with a sedative of choice, but skip the rest of the book unless these ideas are entirely new to you.

  • ehk2
    2019-03-31 11:25

    At first, it resembled a bit 'old left' vs. 'new left' debate, but then it became clear that it was another exaggerated attack by a political philosopher who is well-informed with 'rational choice theory', but not so with cultural and social history.It is always good to read something that challenges established anti-establishment conventions; but this book is not one of them. Leaving aside the biggest failure, that he makes a caricature of counter-culture movements (handling of a sociological issue), for me the irritating aspect is his unfounded public choice/rational choice theory, which may be supported by using Rawls or Habermas, as you wish. Such an approach takes historical, social problems as inevitable 'collective action problems', in everywhere it views free-riders problem, prisoners' dilemma, trust, 'tragedy of the commons', etc. The solution to coordinate the individual interests is more institutional set-up, more regulation, more deliberation, so and so on. What the authors try to say is that in every collective, there is always the problem of order, of rules and deviance. Counter-culture movements under consideration are just a period-specific case of general 'collective action problems' throughout history. You could devote yourself to political theory and speculate endlessly behind the veil but that does not count as a good sociology.This might, at best, be a casuistry of a man who once wanted to be a punk but ended up as a cool and rich professor defending the perfection of the markets.

  • Nicole
    2019-04-22 08:03

    This was a very readable book that made some interesting points, but it was a bit sloppy in places.Heath and Potter make fairly good arguments that non-conformist countercultures reinforce, rather than break down, consumer capitalism and often encourage antisocial behaviours that undermine the causes the participants seek to support.They definitely make some mistakes, though, and contradict themselves at times. They seem to believe, for example, that the only reason anyone would buy bread that costs more than Wonder bread is "to avoid being victims of consumerism and mass society" - I suspect there are plenty of people who buy artisan bread because it tastes better, rather than because they believe this is in any way an anticonsumerist measure, and the idea of buying things with the best value rather than the best price doesn't inherently promote competitive consumption (how many people would stop buying artisan bread just because other people started? Seeking value isn't always the same as seeking distinction, something they do acknowledge elsewhere in the book but seem to have forgotten in parts of it).They also have a tendency to lump together whole social movements (such as environmentalism) as parts of the counterculture they criticize when significant parts of these movements are working within the system just the way they recommend.

  • Laura
    2019-04-16 14:08

    I started taking notes on what I disagreed in this book (including WTF Paglia reference) but I realized that if I read any 2 pages I was going to have a fine argument mounted against the book.The problem is really that the two authors are arguing a straw man. Yes culture evolves, of course it does! But really - this book seemed to be a long argument against their former punk selves/friends rather than a real nuanced dialog about where capitalism ends, and society begins. As a registered socialist *and* a pragmatic tool who works for the man I found this book neither shocking, or revolutionary - just a slow burn whine making the same arguments against AdBusters I've made years ago.

  • Dimitris Hall
    2019-04-10 08:05

    This one is a toughy. Few other times have I been this undecided on a book before reviewing it.While reading The Rebel Sell, I was nodding in agreement with many of the arguments Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter posed, such as the proposition that mass consumerism is unavoidable because it is recognition, distinction and status that people find when they consume, and while on the whole if theoretically no-one bought anything all would be well and good, everyone has to keep consuming just because everyone else keeps doing so. It is an instance of the prisoner's dilemma, a central part of their point, used many times in the book and presented convincingly. It's an interesting concept applicable to politics, sociology and other topics.Furthermore, their analysis of taste in art and culture and how it is another form of projecting one's own social class was also profound, as well as their take on what it means to be cool and how, in their view, that is the very thing that drives consumerism: someone has to be the Joneses, after all, and it is the cool people who become the Joneses, whether they realise/like it or not. There are many other such bits and pieces I found agreeable and fun to read, such as the distinction between dissent and deviance, something with which I can completely relate. If you wouldn't like a society in which everyone acts a certain way and not just you, it's probably deviance and not dissent, like the stupid graffiti tags, not paying taxes or avoiding standing in queue. It's a healthy observation.But. As convincing as I found the points above, as well as many others which did, at times, make the book a bit chaotic in its argumentation, I couldn't help but feel the smugness of Mr. Heath and Mr. Potter seep through the pages. They ridicule the counterculture, often repeating themselves and failing to spot the benefits society has gained from it in the 50 years since it first emerged, at least in the form they describe. They cannot find any merit in any kind of fringe social movement. It's like they're trying to "get over" their own countercultural past by dissecting it, as if they're trying to prove how wrong and misled their own mocking peers had been -as my friend who lent me the book accurately commented. It's like they're saying "look how grown up and rational we are now! Just try and grow up like we did, you pathetic self-important tree huggers/hipsters/anarchists/punks/Naomi Klein."Nevertheless, I realise that the implications of what is presented within the book are vast and indeed might be playing an important political role in the fragmentation of the left and its members trying to "out-radicalise" oneanother. The sad result is that it is a weaker force which is left to oppose the all-consuming capitalist market. When all has to do with individuality and how different everyone can and should be in order to "stick it to The Man", there can of course be very little emphasis on how people can cooperate and find the similarities and common goals between them. The problem is that the same market which the writers are defending -at least in principle- and its state today, 10 years after the writing of the book, has only made itself horrifyingly stronger against legislative and institutional reform. The writers greatly underestimate the current relationship between corporations and governments and how difficult it is to change from within. The world is practically ruled by corporations and to question that rivals the counterculture in its supposed naiveté.Comfortably, the above declaration would be enough for the writers to smirk at me and include me in the already-accounted-for group of wannabe radical counterculturals who can't face reality. The whole point of the book is putting cases such as me, if just a hint less self-conscious, in their rightful place; just another individualistic rebel who lazily rejects all small reforms in favour of a total paradigm shift which will most probably never come, at least not in the form anybody expects. Maybe I am such a naive, sentimental being as to fall right into this argumentative trap, but I feel, like so many others ridiculed in the book, that there just is something wrong at a much deeper level with the world than what can be merely altered through laws and regulations.Enough. I could go on. As someone whose rough ideology is directly challenged by the book, I feel I have to excuse myself and prove how "they don't get it" in quite a thorough and wordy manner. I'm not sure I like this reacion of mine but I acknowledge it. Suffice it to say that this shows that the book is at least worth reading. For good or bad, it has intensified my great ideological confusion and has made me think and question myself - a favourite hobby of mine, that last part. I recognise its value and its propositions even if -I suppose I should say 'thankfully'- at a sentimental level I just can't agree. I suggest that you read it and see what impact it has on you too.

  • Gülüzar
    2019-04-02 14:11

    herkesin yaptığından başka şeyler yapmak, farklı olmak için ayrıksı giysiler, tarzlar ve tatil yerlerine gitmek bir özgürlük bir isyan hissi yarattı insanlarda. bununla bir karşı-kültür yaratarak sistemin dışına çıkmaya çalıştılar. renkli ve yaratıcı oldular. sistemin dışında isyankar, coşkulu ve başka bir hayat var dediler. peki bunu kapitalizm yedi mi? yemedi, şimdiye kadar girdiği her yaşama uyum sağlamakta ya da kendine uydurmakta pek başarısız olmayan kapitalizm isyankarlar için adidas ayakkabılar, levis pantalonlar üretti. bununla da kalmadı davranışımızı, duruşumuzu bile aynı kıldı (bknz: istanbul film festivali izleyicisi. aynı saçlar aynı kıyafetler ve hatta aynı bakışlar. ama onlar farklılar!) bu kitap hakiki bir isyan, mücadele yok mu, bu kısırdöngüden bir çıkış var mı, buraya kadar mı sorularına yanıt arıyor bir yerde. yazarlar on yıllardır süren karşı kültür isyanının hiçbir şeyi değiştirmediğini çünkü karşı kültür fikrinin yaslandığı toplum teorisinin yanlış olduğunu savunuyor. kültür parazitlenemez çünkü tek başına “kültür” ya da kendi başına “sistem”diye bir şey yoktur diyor.kitabın sonuç bölümü pek olmamışsa da okumaya değer bir kitap.çok yerin altını çizdim ama bunlardan bir kaç tanesini buraya bırakmak istiyorum:* Kurt Cobain intiharı hakkında, son dürüstlük kırıntıları da yok olmadan önce, bunu durdurmak ve topyekün ruhunu satmaktan uzak durmak daha iyiydi. Böylelikle “punk rock özgürlüktür” kanaatine tutunabilirdi. Göremediği şey muhtemelen tamamen yanılsamaydı; alternatif yoktur, anaakım yoktur, müzik ve özgürlük arasında ilişki yoktur ve ruhunu satmak gibi bir şey yoktur. Sadece müzik yapan ve dinleyen insanlar vardır. Eğer muhteşem müzik yaparsanız, insanlar onu dinlemek ister.* Ne de olsa geleneksel politik örgütlenme çalışması çok emek gerektirir ve meşakkatlidir. Kültürel politikalar tersine çok daha eğlencelidir. Gerilla tiyatrosu kurmak, bir grupta çalmak, avangard sanat yakmak, uyuşturucu kullanmak ve çılgın seks yapma, hafta sonunu geçirmenin bir yolu olarak sendika örgütlenmesini kesinlikle alt eder. Karşı kültürel isyancıların kendilerini ikna etmeyi becerdikleri şey, zulüm ve adaletsizliğe “daha derin” bir seviyedeki kaynaklarına saldırdıkları için, bütün bu eğlenceli faaliyetlerin aslinda geleneksel sol politikalardan daha yıkıcı olduğudur. * Nazi Almanyası “kitle toplumu” olarak bilinmeye başlayan şeyin şafağını işaretliy0rdu. Antik tiranlıktaki iktidar yapısı genellikle yalnızca elitleri kapsıyordu. Nüfusun çoğunluğu kendi işlerini düşünmeye ve liderlere itaat etmeye teşvik ediliyordu sadece. Modern totaliter devlet, tersine, kitleleri harekete geçirdi. Kendi başlarına tiransal bir güç haline gelen halk çoşku içinde sürüklendi. Hitler organize edilmiş heyecan ve kitle hipnozu kullandı.* Toplum içinde daha büyük güvenliği sağlayabiliriz; fakat sadece özgürlüğüzü değil, mutluluğu deneyimleme kapasitemizi de feda etme pahasına.* Uygarlık tarihi esasta baskıcı toplumsal aygıtın tedricen içselleştirilmesinin tarihidir. * O kadar iyi sosyalleştik ki artık kuralları bir dayatma olarak deneyimlemiyoruz. Toplumumuzdaki pek çok çocuk, on yaşına kadar, davranışları üzerinde beş yüzyıl önceki bir tam yetişkinden daha fazla kontrolü başarır ve daha fazla kuralı içselleştirir. Bu uygarlık için ödediğimiz bedeldir.* Sinemanın sihri sayesinde bir avuç beyaz yeniyetmenin seks yapması hem sivil haklar hareketinin hem de faşizme karşı mücadelenin eşiti haline gelir. * Onlarca yıldır piyasa güçlerini güdülemiş olan şeyin, uyumluluk değil, isyan olduğunu fark edemediler. * Tüketici harcamalarını hareket ettirenler uyumlu değil aykırı olanlardır. Marka kimliği tamamen ürün farklılaştırmayla ilgilidir; ürünü başkalarından ayırmakla ilgilidir. İnsanlar kendilerine fark sağladığı için markalara bağlanırlar. * Eğer gelirinizi harcamazsanız, bankaya koyarsınız ve başkası harcar. Tüketimi azaltabilmenizin tek yolu üretime katılımınızı azaltmaktır. * Tüketim malları niçin uzun süreli bir tatmin sağlayamaz? Bu şeylerden birine gerçekten ihtiyacımız yoksa, günün sonunda niçin kendimizi mutsuz hissetiğimizi anlamak biraz daha kolay olur. Ancak bir toplum daha zengin hale gelince, o büyüme artık mutluluk artışını yerine getirmez. İlgili temel problem, ihtiyaçlarımızın yapay olması değil, üretilen mallara içkin özelliklerinden ziyade göreli başarı işaretleri olarak rollerine göre değer biçilmesidir. * Bir bütün olarka toplum daha zenginleşirken, tüketici davranizi giderek bir silahlanma yarışı yapısı kazanmaktadır. Tüketim kararları mutlulukta uzun süreli artış yaratmaz, ama bu tüketicilerin aptal, irrasyonel ve beyni yıkanmış olduğu anlamına gelmez, sadece bir kolektif eylem problemine takıldıkları anlamına gelir.

  • arkan
    2019-04-10 12:03

    Sebenarnya buku ini lumayan bermasalah. Di beberapa tempat, analisisnya kurang nyaman, dan pembaca dilemparkan kepada kegilaan psikedelik antara poin-poin, gosip, rumor, dan analisis. Hendaknya pembaca berhati-hati karena tak semua poin buku ini dapat diambil langsung secara face value, misalnya penggambaran ulang konsepsi Keynesian untuk mengkritik Marx (apakah benar bahwa seluruh pendapatan dapat diterjemahkan menjadi demand? Rasanya kok meragukan.)Positifnya buku ini adalah bahwa ia punya potensi yang sangat besar (asumsinya mereka sudi membaca buku seperti ini, yang judul Bahasa Indonesianya saja sudah Radikal itu Menjual menurut laporan seorang teman) untuk menyadarkan dan mengubah perilaku mereka yang kontrakultur dan secara efektif justru merusak pergerakan kaum kiri progresif melalui aksi rebel individualistik versus terjun ke politik sesungguhnya. Potensi tersebut hadir melalui penjelasan yang apik disertai contoh dalam buku ini, yang meskipun tak semuanya baik sebagaimana sudah saya sebutkan di atas, tapi sisanya cukup dapat menggoyahkan iman.Saat membaca buku ini saya jadi teringat kepada sebuah peristiwa yang terjadi pada bulan Maret 2012 kemarin, ketika sekelompok mahasiswa yang mengaku revolusioner menurunkan paksa foto SBY di Gedung DPR. Teriakan mereka dalam solidaritas adalah "turunkan harga BBM untuk membantu rakyat". Dalam kasus ini, aksi simbolik mereka saya rasa menjadi ironik, karena mereka justru memperparah masalah yang mereka ingin pecahkan sejak awal (membantu rakyat). Selain fakta bahwa kelompok ini kini kehilangan legitimasi (meskipun jelas tujuh orang yang menurunkan foto tersebut mendapatkan distingsi di antara teman-temannya, tapi apalah guna hero jika kepalang impoten?), pemerintah pun harus memperbaiki foto itu kembali dengan dana negara.Mari kita kontraskan kejadian ini dengan naiknya Jokowi ke kancah politik nasional. Tentu, Jokowi bukan main-main. Tak harus ia turunkan foto untuk melaksanakan aksi simbolik. Aksi-aksi yang ia lakukan berdampak langsung, tak hanya simbolik, namun memiliki efek real terhadap para konstituen yang ia pimpin. Lalu--ini untuk para pengecam demokrasi--datang dari manakah Jokowi, dan datang dari manakah para penurun foto yang secara umum tidak berpengaruh apa-apa itu? Tentunya dari proses demokrasi, yang seringkali dilawan oleh para pemimpin kontrakultur--tentunya dengan efek-efek yang menyedihkan bukan hanya bagi mereka sendiri, tapi bagi semua orang. Bayangkan jika negara ini chaos sebelum Jokowi naik, hanya gara-gara keinginan mereka untuk menggantikan seluruh sistem, dan bukannya menutup kelemahan-kelemahan sistem!Buku ini semoga menjadi penyadaran besar-besaran bagi mereka yang menganggap dirinya radikal kiri tapi ogah berpolitik yang ngefek. Tentunya, yang ngefek dalam politik hanya bisa diraih melalui institusi birokratis yang gigantik, dilawankan dengan aktivisme individualistik yang justru malah memperparah masalahnya itu sendiri.All in all, a nice read. 1 dari 5 bintang diambil karena kadang-kadang contoh dan gambarannya meragukan, terasa chaotic dan berantakan.

  • Diah Ayu
    2019-03-27 10:04

    ah, seandainya saja aku sudah baca No Logo-nya Naomi Klein dan Belanja Sampai Mati-nya Alissa Quart sebelum baca buku ini, huhuhu. gara-gara dari dulu ditunda melulu, sekarang gak tau lagi deh gimana caranya aku bisa berhadapan dengan kedua buku itu tanpa terpengaruh sama analisisnya Joseph Heath & Andrew Potter ini, yang emang beberapa kali secara khusus menyerang Klein dan Quart. yup, spesifik dg menyebut nama dan mengutip pernyataan mereka.daripada disebut analisis ekonomi, mungkin buku ini lebih pas klo disebut analisis psikologi dan analisis kultural kali ya. mulai dari Freud, Marx, Jean Jacques Rousseau, Hitler, Kurt Cobain, sampai Alanis Morissette. mulai dari The Beach, American Beauty, The Matrix, sampe Star Trek. mulai dari musik klasik, jazz, sampe hip hop. yes, i expected this book to be full of fact and analysis, but i never imagine that it could be THIS far. dan agak bangga juga rasanya waktu menyadari bahwa aku nyambung juga ketika mereka ngobrol soal topik2 itu. ternyata meskipun nampak tak penting tapi toh pengalaman sebagai media junkie dan anak nongkrong MTV akhirnya kepake juga *alah*buku ini mempertanyakan dg sinis semoa pola pikir new-age yg sebelumnya kupunya, terutama soal hal2 sederhana dan keren yg kupikir bisa mengubah dunia. soal slogan2 'think globally, act locally', soal kesadaran lingkungan, soal do-it-yourself way of think. menurut mereka, semua itu gak ngaruh untuk upaya menciptakan dunia yg lebih baik, krn sebenarnya titik permasalahannya adalah soal collective-action problem. jadi bagi kedua penulis ini solusinya selalu saja pada sistem dan kekuatan besar seperti pemerintah, bukannya kesadaran individu. oh well, aku jadi curiga apakah mereka tetep mengatakan hal yg sama klo mereka hidup di Indonesia, dimana menunggu uluran tangan pemerintah adalah sama naifnya seperti menunggu kedatangan sinterklas.tapi ada banyak hal juga yg bisa disepakati dari buku ini. bahkan ada juga yg bukan hanya sepakat, tp aku benar2 bisa merasa relate, merasa terlibat dg fenomena2 yg mereka jelaskan. misalnya ketika di halaman 330 mereka menjelaskan bahwa counter culture adalah 'the art of redescribing any element of mainstream culture in subversive terms. so, in the end, it is just people fighting for their right to party'. hehehe, iya bener banget. juga soal deskripsi mereka tentang generasi 'bobos' - singkatan dari 'bourgeois bohemians' dg ciri2 ‘they are prosperous without seeming greedy; they have pleased their elders without seeming conformist; they have risen toward the top without too obviously looking down on those below; they have achieved success without committing certain socially sanctioned affronts to the ideal of social equality; they have constructed a prosperous lifestyle while avoiding the old clichés of conspicuous consumption'. aaahhh, i think i'm just one of them!! :pjadi, untuk sementara berhenti dulu deh sama buku2 yg bikin mencret otak begini. sekarang baca Confessions of Max Tivoli dulu yg nampaknya mellow2...

  • Travis Ammons
    2019-03-29 16:08

    This book is truly an eye-opener. A perceptive work of modern day cultural criticism that rips apart the myths that dominate (with false truths you are quick to learn) much of the radical political, economical, and cultural ways of thinking.The very idea of counterculture...the ideology of the "rebel"...the concept of the artist outside of the mainstream of the gobblydegook that the Targets and the Walmarts of the country are spitting out of their factory assembly lines...all of what these ideas embody pervade everythig from the antiglobilazation movement to civil rights to being eco-friendly. And the idea that mocking or bucking the system--the very backbone of the counterculture ethic--we must finally see, this brilliant book informs us through very intellectual pleading, is basically the most ignorant and spot-on labeling a society has ever done. It is the most COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE thing a culture has ever done--in this case, that culture being the--is your tongue planted firmly in your cheek?--Counterculture within which we all so blindly and effortlessly thrive. As did our parents and our grandparents. And for some of your reading this, so did our great-grandparents. This should be a clue or a sign. What the fuck are we really rebelling against if we've been rebelling against if for four generations maybe we're really not that 'underground' after all. This are just some of the ideas at the very beginning of this witty and insightful book by Joseph Heath & Andrew Potter. Blending philosophy with historical analysis and pop culture they bring a fresh look at an old problem with social justice. They make clear that rthe confusion of the counterculture mindset doesn't have to be all or nothing, and that's an important first lesson. It's hard to say that in order to make any changes we are going to have to (re)learn how to (slowly) begin to trust our own government again.This isn't a book about government or about free speech or anything except maybe where the hippies went to far. Their ideas and ideals were great, they just needed to install some working brakes into that magic bus heading to Haight-Ashbury, that was all. One small mistake--brakes! Who knew?? Who would've thought a simple thing like stopping could've (and would've--and did end up) being this disastrous??

  • Umar
    2019-03-25 16:15

    I did a project on the sociology of activism and someone recommended this to me. There's a lot of critique in here from an ex-hippie/activist type. They make great points about how paradoxically capitalism is powered by its enemy- the counterculture. Most of what came out as an alternative against the now the mainstream, from music to fashion to even the attitudes. The failure of it all is because the counter-culture has "co-opted" with consumer culture and "sold out" and the only alternatives are those which no one is interested in. His verdict is that we need more cognitive dissonance and to work the slow and hard way through legislation to undue the ills of our society. He draws from the following: Marcuse, Baudrillard, Stewart Ewen, Bourdieu, Freud, Lewis Mumford, various economic ideas, and mentions in passing the Earth Catalog, Carlos Castenedas, CB Macpherson, Veblen, Neil Postman, Ellul, Schumacher, Rawls and Ursula Franklin Key concepts: co-optation, defensive consumption, repressive tolerance, positional goods, vicarious conspicuous consumption, negative externality, commodification of nature. Strong parallels are made with the Matrix, and how hedonism is somehow seen as dissent when it really isn't. He is harsh on Naomi Klein as well and other so called "liberal activists" mentioning how her views are shaped by her experience as a middle class Torontonian. His chapter on India, details with how tourism is a search for authenticity, but fails becaue of the gloablized hegemony we have today. He critiques many of the approaches we have today and how most activism, has no effect whatsoever. He makes one good point: if we didn't have society consuming us as we consume it, we would probably end up fighting each other, so in that way, its a good distraction!

  • Carrie
    2019-04-03 12:15

    At 366 pages, this book is an extremely annoying whirlwind tour of popular philosophy (with a little psychoanalysis and economic theory thrown in), applied in broad strokes to the idea of "counterculture". It would be difficult for even a more compelling writer to satisfactorily explain even one of these topics at that short length. The authors' thesis is unclear, and at times their brief explanations of others' ideas are simply incorrect.This book smacks of self-righteousness, and is just not very smart. It could have been an engaging, informative exploration of the factors that caused (and continue to cause) cultural rebellion to feed the very culture it wishes to negate. Instead, it is a snarky, vacuous diatribe against hippies and punks - presented as a feat of intellectual maneuvering. I've got nothing against complaining about hippies and punks, but only if the complainers have more to base their opinions on than "I had purple hair in college and I thought I was making a difference in the world, but now that I'm in my 30's I realize that actually I was just a self-absorbed teenager and I feel uncomfortable about that".For the layperson with no prior knowledge of the ideas they present (and I don't mean popular culture or punk rock), it is at best misleading. For the reader with even a basic working knowledge of the concepts at hand, it's simplistic and irritating. The whole thing is really just a rambling, guilty apology for the authors' misspent youth. Ugh.

  • Jonathan
    2019-04-10 10:08

    This book actually provoked thoughts. I would recommended to anyone agonising about their authenticity."The idea of a counterculture is ultimately based on a mistake. At best, countercultural rebellion is a pseudo-rebellion: a set of dramatic gestures devoid of any progressive political or economic consequences and that detract from the urgent task of building a more just society. In other words, it is rebellion that provides entertainment for the rebels, and nothing much else. At worst, countercultural rebellion actually promotes unhappiness, by undermining or discrediting social norms and institutions that actually serve a valuable function. In particular, the idea of a counterculture has produced a level of contempt for democratic politics that has consistently handicapped the progressive left (not least, by refusing to acknowledge the distinction between compromising and 'selling out')."Ouch.

  • Allison
    2019-04-02 14:05

    Such an eye-opening book about how culture is like an arms race... everyone wants to be "different" or "ahead of the game" when it comes to style, new ideas, but it always backfires because eventually the Cadillac becomes the Lexus becomes the BMW becomes the Hummer and on and on. The point of this book is to show that counterculture and consumer culture eventually become one and the same. The message I got from it was just to do, be, buy, and wear what I enjoy; also not to give a hoot about what anyone else thinks. It must be exhausting to try to constantly "impress," to be "in style," to "keep up with the Joneses," etc. The author uses the hippie movement as his strongest example, but also throws in Kurt Cobain and even other similar books by other authors to prove that trying to be a part of the counterculture is pointless. The more important goal is just to think for yourself and be yourself.

  • Anatoly v01
    2019-04-08 15:18

    Чем связаны хиппи, панки, зеленые активисты и фильм "Красота по американски"? Общей идеологией контркультуры, вот чем. Эти движения никогда не приводят к тем целям, которые заявляют, а только к очередному витку потребительской моды. На свободные рубашки, на заколки, на биологические продукты.Автор также отвергает концепцию "злые корпорации зомбируют людей чтобы те покупали то что им не нужно, а переключается на идею конкурентного потребления людей, как способа выделиться над толпой. И это желание не вбито нам в голову, оно там всегда было.С критикой критиков современного консьюмеризма, корпорато- и технократии в книге всё хорошо. С положительной программой плохо и скучно, что закономерно (автор явно не утопист никакого рода) и по-своему и к лучшему.Пожалуй лучшая книга про политику что я помню.

  • Grigory
    2019-03-27 09:11

    Frankly speaking, this is both very interesting and very disappointing book. After the first chapter one might think the book would be dedicated to "sell" part - to marketing of rebel spirit to the public. But really it's more a series of anecdotes about "dirty ol'hippies" and "fart-smelling liberals" (since chapters are not really connected with each other).Falseness of this method can be seen when the author cavalierly discards spam-filters as a thing only technological libertarians would trust, because they "fail to address the basic structural problem, which is social rather then technological". He believes that spam had to be fought with government regulations. Well it's been less then 10 years and even Russian parliament doesn't intend to fight spam with police force.

  • Kasa
    2019-04-18 10:08

    This book was incredibly frustrating. While a discussion on the merits of what the others call "the counter culture" is worthwhile, and probably needed, this book fails in that regard. The book is poorly argued, poorly researched, and suffused with petty anger. One gets the feeling that the punk kids thought they were square in college, and they've been bitter ever since. Which is a shame, because (very) occasionally, they make a good point. I would like to see this done by someone a bit more levelheaded. I finally gave up on page 148 when they started going after "the 'zine scene" (yes, they used the apostrophe). It was pretty gross.

  • Conal
    2019-03-25 14:05

    Although the two authors have an interesting take on what drives American consumer culture, they make the same mistake made by the counter-culturalists they critique. Namely, they state that counter-culturalists lump all of corporate America together as one dominant unit is false, saying instead that corporations act individually in their own interest. However, the authors then go ahead and lump every counter-culturalist together, classifying them as a single entity driven by one force and one group mind. Strange contradictions such as these abound in this book. Nonetheless, it offers some interesting insight into what is and isn't "rebellion."

  • Rik Leaf
    2019-04-06 10:02

    I'm an artistic activist and honestly...this book is nothing at all like I thought it would be when I picked it up.As an active individual involved in making the world a better place, this book brought into focus my #1 frustration with being a Left Leaning Activist.It's one of those books that when you read it you want to debate it with friends and enemies. You want to slam the author's perspective for being so damn true and f#%ing inconvenient. This book changed the way I express my political activism. And I am thankful and more useful for it!

  • Alecharrison
    2019-03-30 14:01

    This book pretty much shattered my preconceptions on a lot of topics, such as grunge music, the international travel industry, and the commercialization of anti-establishment ideals. Although not all arguments are perfect (for example, arguments against rap music basically idealize Eminem while disparaging black artists) and some chapters gloss over more complicated social systems (as is the case when they explain the property of coolness) but the general message is one that society at large needs to read and understand in order to critically assess ourselves.

  • Jen
    2019-03-25 12:07

    An excellent examination of the crowd and counter-cultural psychology. Charles Mackay, author of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds wrote: "Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one." p. 25

  • Ian Pollock
    2019-04-03 15:08

    The basic argument of the book is, in essence, that anti-consumerist, anti-capitalist & individualistic attitudes are a major driver of capitalism. Various "counterculture" movements in music, art, politics are almost all driven by competitive status-seeking.It is best left to Heath to convince you of this. Valuable insight porn. Probably overstates the point somewhat.

  • Raúl
    2019-04-07 14:22

    Un libro necesario para todos los entusiastas de toda forma de rebeldía. Porque no les gustará. A veces utilizando la lógica pueden desmontarse las más Pintorescas utopías. ¿os entusiasmo "No Logo" de N.Klein?Este os producirá una úlcera. Las cosas Son complicadas.