Adbusters 98 American Autumn cover. To Have or to Be? Adbusters describes itself as “a global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators magazine back issues pdf entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age.
In English, Adbusters has bi-monthly American, Canadian, Australian, UK and International editions of each issue. Bill Schmalz, a duo of award-winning documentary filmmakers living in Vancouver. Since the early 1980s, Lasn had been making films that explored the spiritual and cultural lessons the West could learn from the Japanese experience with capitalism. Lasn and Shmalz were outraged by the use of the public airwaves to deliver what they felt was deceptive anti-environmentalist propaganda. But the duo wasn’t able to buy airtime on the same stations that had aired the forest-industry ad. According to a former Adbusters employee, “The CBC’s reaction to the proposed television commercial created the real flash point for the Media Foundation. It seemed that Lasn and Schmaltz’s commercial was too controversial to air on the CBC.
An environmental message that challenged the large forestry companies was considered ‘advocacy advertising’ and was disallowed, even though the ‘informational’ messages that glorified clearcutting were OK. The foundation was born out of their belief that citizens do not have the same access to the information flows as corporations. The Right to Communicate in the constitutions of all free nations, and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The foundation notes that concern over the flow of information goes beyond the desire to protect democratic transparency, freedom of speech or the public’s access to the airwaves. Although it supports these causes, the foundation instead situates the battle of the mind at the center of its political agenda. Fighting to counter pro-consumerist advertising is done not as a means to an end, but as the end in itself. This shift in emphasis is a crucial element of mental environmentalism.
The Journal of the Mental Environment. What we’re trying to do is pioneer a new form of social activism using all the power of the mass media to sell ideas, rather than products. We’re motivated by a kind of ‘greenthink’ that comes from the environmental movement and isn’t mired in the old ideology of the left and right. Instead, we take the environmental ethic into the mental ethic, trying to clean up the toxic areas of our minds.
You can’t recycle and be a good environmental citizen, then watch four hours of television and get consumption messages pumped at you. Adbusters describes itself as anti-advertising: it blames advertising for playing a central role in creating and maintaining consumer culture. This argument is based on the belief that the advertising industry goes to great effort and expense to associate desire and identity with commodities. Adbusters believes that advertising has unjustly “colonized” public, discursive and psychic spaces, by appearing in movies, sports and even schools, so as to permeate modern culture. Adbusters’s stated goals include combating the negative effects of advertising and empowering its readers to regain control of culture, encouraging them to ask “Are we consumers and citizens? The magazine aims to provoke anti-consumerist feelings.
By juxtaposing text and images, the magazine attempts to create a means of raising awareness and getting its message out to people that is both aesthetically pleasing and entertaining. A popular example of cultural jamming is the distortion of Tiger Woods’ smile into the form of the Nike swoosh, calling viewers to question how they view Woods’ persona as a product. Adbusters calls it “trickle up” activism, and encourages its readers to do these activities by honoring culture jamming work in the magazine. Media Carta” is a charter challenging the corporate control of the public airwaves and means of communication. The goal is to “make the public airwaves truly public, and not just a corporate domain.