Review: Commodify Your Dissent

Commodify Your Dissent: Salvos from The Baffler, edited by Thomas Frank and Matt Weiland. ISBN: 0-393-31673-4

I wanted very much to like this book. It came well recommended. The book is a series of social criticism essays focused around the cooption of dissent into marketing campaigns. A topic that I have great interest in.

Unfortunately, it quickly deteriorates into some sort of "us versus them" shadowy set of conspiracies, jabs taken at easy targets without ever getting to real meat.

It starts out taking on the DayTimertm. Certainly a topic worthy of satire, but in 1995? What planet had these folks been living on for the past decade. And Tom Peters? Hasn't all the satire on that topic been archived for a similar period?

Comments about Madonna's "handlers" fall flat, too. What, you think that she doesn't have the brains to have built that persona herself? Only stodgy white guys can build that sort of cultural phenomena? I wonder how a similar take on Mae West would have gone over, although given their timing on the DayTimertm fad maybe that's upcoming.

And pot-shots at Arianna Huffington? That's just too easy, although frankly I'd rather be reading her one liners than theirs.

Despite my general pan, it was a quick read, but one that didn't live up to my expectations of it.

Monday, August 31st, 1998