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Adbusters: A Toohey's Dream

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fanofayn
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I don't know if any of you are aware of it, but there is a rather disgusting magazine based out of Canada called Adbusters. It is based on the idea that advertising is evil, but that is just the basic front for its rabid anti-Capitalist, environmentalist (and I mean anti-progress environmentalism--the kind that wants humanity flung back into the stone age because "life was so much simpler then" and "we're no better now just because we have computers!"), anti-American, Socialist propagandism. It is anti-corporation; I find it at Barnes and Noble right next to Time and The Economist. It screams about how terrible money is and how horrible progress is; these statements can be found neatly printed on its glossy, machine mass produced pages. It cuts its own throat with the knife progress produced. It is so inept as to be unable to create itself without what it is trying to destroy. Of course this is the theme of all collectivist-altruist-mysticists, but seldom do I find such a perfect example. I pick it up and read about three pages before I get sick and have to put it down. I then proceed to scribble in my journal about how disgusting it all is and asking myself how it is possible for ineptitude, lies, and blatant inaccuracy to be such a massive trend. There was a passage in one such issue by the name of "Curb Your Consumption" that was a fantasy of one of these Adbuster drones, in which he describes the Dow Jones, and how he watches it and waits impatiently to see it fall, and when it does he leaps up in ecstacy, and he can't wait for the day it drops 700 points, and he knows there are "tons of revolutionaries" just like him waiting for the same thing. This one actually frightened me. I was just wondering if anyone else knows about this particular phenomenon, and if anyone has a clue how such disgusting, constantly disproven "ideas" can still be espoused and considered legit?

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I've never heard of the Adbusters. But it reminds me of the elf. They don't want their lives to get better they want it to get worse. They want everyone to be farmers but we can only own small farms and can't use any type of technology to improve the farming. Their main concern lately has been SUV's, urban sprawl and McDonalds. Their website is full of tips on how to make bombs and avoid the FBI. They think fire solves more problems than a reasonable argument.

I wonder if adbusters do any advertising?

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Adbusters has a website, other than that I don't know if they advertise or depend on word-of-mouth. The magazine has tons of anti-ads, like a coke ad with the words "I love to drink brown carbonated water! Be like me!" but other than that kind of stuff, I don't know. Today I saw one bumper sticker among many on an old, gas-guzzling car, which said: "Too many people, too few trees." I can just see people passing this and saying, "Amen!" I passed it and wanted to throw up, thinking to myself, how can someone proclaim their self-hatred, and their hatred of the Human Race, proudly and loudly on their CAR? Nevermind the inherent hypocricy, just think about how much you would have to hate PEOPLE, to think to yourself, "if only we could get rid of all these bodies, or maybe even use them for fertalizer! All hail inanimate objects! Subjugate Man to Trees" !?!?!?!

Ugh.

What makes it more disgusting is that this kind of statement is widely, openly accepted as MORAL! How? By what standard? By what thought process? Is there a thought process involved?!

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I found out about the elf through a speach at aynrand.org and I've been looking for any information I could find about them since.

I know that their main website is resource for their members and whenever a member does something they post it on the web. I saw an advertising in time once that was against the elf and peta but thats about it. I guess burning down buildings is enough advertising for them.

Things I can't prove right now:

peta sponsers their main web site.

I think they sucked up all the members from the alf but I don't know how big they are.

Other Information:

I found out a few weeks ago that they have a network of mailing lists called frontline-news and I signed up for it but didn't get anything.

This is the only thing that made me angry enough to make a speach about it for homework. I don't think anybody agreed with me of the reason the elf is wrong (man has the right to use his environment) and a few of them made a joke out of it. Since that speach I've been trying to identify who the people are in my class (mystic, savage, or rejector of axioms) and what makes them that way (belief in god, magic, or death). This is how I started using objectivism and started changing the way I think about life. My only problem now is telling my mom I don't believe in god and having her hate me for it. I know I could try to reason with her but she will probably kill me before I get the chance.

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If you think you have to tell her, than reason won't work and she may very well be angry with you, because someone who can truly believe in God is demonstrably immune to reason. I don't know why it is important for other people to know about your belief (or lack thereof) in God, unless you are agreeing with their belief in Him by your silence, but usually a simple "I don't agree with you" suffices, as opposed to a dissertation on the juxtaposition of mysticism and self-esteem (:lol:). It must be immensely more difficult when it's a mother and not a friend or aquaintence you are "disagreeing" with. My family is basically in denial about my atheism, but I know they must have accepted it silently in their own minds by this time. I just let my theological opinion come out naturally via other discussions, basically regarding my political and philosophical views, and eventually everyone can deduce that there is no way for me to hold those beliefs and the belief in God simultaniously.

I wonder what your homework assignment was that you were able to incorporate an objectivist view on environmentalism...Is this High School you are talking about?

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I'm actually going to be graduating from Pittsburgh Technical Institute on October 14 in computer programming. So no I'm not in High School but I don't have a college education on math or english either. I guess you could say I'm not a "well rounded" person as far as education goes. It's been worth it though. I've earned a 4.0, perfect attendance, certification from Carnegie Technology Education, and when I'm done with my internship I will get an associates degree. In my second communications class I had to make a persuasive speach about anything. I chose the elf becuase I was already reading about them and I wanted to tell people about why the elf is wrong. What do you think about the elf so far?

I'm going to start another topic for my religious parents since it's off topic.

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As far as I can tell, there's not much to be said for being "well-rounded" via a humanities-rich education. Studying what actually interests you, on your own, does a lot more to develop intelligence. My required general education requirements are just a bunch of envi-majors and liberals yelping about how much they hate republicans, the Rich, and basically humanity in general.

Which leads me to Elf.

I didn't think I could find anything more disgusting than Adbusters. I was wrong.

Elf is completely hideous. The aspects of Adbusters that got to me were mostly how they preached destruction so blatantly. Elf takes this to a whole new level. If I could join a committe to expose these kinds of groups for what they are--man-hating, anti-progress, death-worshipers--I would be ecstatic to.

It seems appropriate that PETA and ALF would be backers of ELF. If the environment is above Man, why not place animals above Man as well? I guess any and everything is better than Humanity. The only rubric of evaluation I can find in their madness is basically an inverse scale of value. I think Man is more valuable than anything else in existence because of His distinguishing quality: His Mind. It seems these groups (Elf, Adbusters) have a hierarchy of value based on the absence of Mind. The less conscious, the better. Their view of value only exposes their view of the universe and of themselves. If they don't want to be conscious, it is because they find the world hideous, and themselves repugnant. (And honestly, they are.)

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I would also like to expose these types of groups and tell the world what they really are. I would start by finding out the groups mission statement and writing why it is wrong. Then I would find all of the actions they take to make the mission a success and inform people about it by saying "see this is what they do and this is what it means." I've been making a web site where I could do this and I hope to have it done by august. By then I should be able to pay for the hosting. demo of site

I found the elf guidelines:

  • To inflict economic damage on those profitting from the destruction and exploitation of the natural environment.

  • To reveal and educate the public on the atrocities committed against the earth and all species that populate it.

  • To take all necessary precautions against harming any animal, human and non-human.

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I've often thought about starting a project such as that; my idea was to start a magazine to fill the real need projects such as Adbusters and Elf pretend at: the need for intellectual engagement in mass-media form. People who really do want to think and be challenged intellectually have absolutely no where to look when they face a magazine stand or a tv screen--or even a radio dial. I wanted to start a magazine called The Capitalist Pig, exposing all alternative-culture pseudo-individualism (which is really collectivism in an extremely thin disguise), detailing the reasons why such propaganda is false. However, for two reasons I abandoned this idea:

1) The title-conceeding their view of me, although meant as sarcasm, if handed to the mostly-dense public, could easily be misconstrued as admission of some kind of fault or evil--the opposite of its purpose.

2) I thought that making the focus of an intellectual endevor that which is anti-intellect could only have negative effects. It might be like the UN, or Gertrude Stein, or Duchamp: putting anti-ideas in the realm of ideas and thereby negating ALL ideas. I think if the FOCUS of such a magazine was to pose new and good ideas, and a sideline was to expose anti-ideas for what they are, then such a magazine would not be violating its own purpose and philosophy and would be moral and wonderful.

I wanted to start it as a website and generate enough interest that way to pose it to potential backers and thereby transition it into being a real, phyisical periodical. What do you think about all that? Do you agree? Is it kind of like what you meant?

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I'm not sure that it would be anti-intellect. It would be more like anti-wrong but not even that. It would be pointing out the mistakes in their philosphy and correcting them. I've started reading Objectivism: The Philosophy of Ayn Rand and the book does this. It starts with the three axioms and shows the types of philosophies that disregard them and why they are wrong in doing that. But it only does it after it explains the axioms. So any article would have to explain the objective facts and why the groups ideas do not observe the facts. I know a lot of site explain why a groups actions are wrong but they never explain why the ideas that causes them are wrong. I don't think pointing out false ideas can ever have negative effects. It allows people to correct their errors. Before I knew about Ayn Rand I had a lot of false ideas. Reading about Objectivism, and learning that some of my ideas were false, has had only positive effects on my life.

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I think that one of the most effective methods Rand employed was pointing out how the other side is faulty. What I said was that I don't think making the FOCUS of an intellectual persuit the anti-intellect (aka ideas that are there to destroy all ideas) can ever be good. The focus of objectivist literature is not the exposition of frauds. It is the presentation of a VALID philosophy, and a secondary method is the use of uncovering frauds. The proving of faulty philosophy is not the purpose of Objectivism: Objectivism is it's purpose. It is its own purpose and its own goal. I would want an intellectual endevor to be its own purpose and its own goal. It could employ methods such as disproving faulty philosophy, and be very effective at it, but if that is it's SOLE purpose, it is no purpose at all; it would become an anti-purpose because rather than create a new phenomenon, it would merely destroy other phenomenons (although those it would destroy would deserve destruction). If the purpose of such a magazine, for instance, was to set forth a NEW philosophy, or even to prove one that exists (Objectivism), than it would be valid and good. If it was only to point out why OTHER philosophies were fraudulent, than it would be invalid. It comes down to dependence and independence. The latter type of magazine is dependent upon INVALID philosophies existing, so that it may destroy them. When the bad philosophies are all destroyed, the magazine must be destroyed as well, for it has fulfilled it's purpose and in the process destroyed itself. The former type of magazine, employing as one of its MANY methods the destruction of fraudulent philosophies (that being a method, not a purpose), would still thrive after all such philosophies were destroyed. Its purpose wasn't destruction of Evil, that was merely a side-benefit (a necessary side-benefit of asserting the Good). Its purpose was to assert itself. This is all I meant and I am sorry if it didn't come across at first. I hope this clears it up.

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I get it. The goal of an organization should not lead to it's own destruction. It should lead to it's own growth. I wasn't thinking of the end results.

I was just now thinking it might be worth "dying" for the cause but that would be wrong to because the "killing" would not be worth the guaranteed "dying" in the end. It would be living off the soon to be dead not it's own creative ability. It wouldn't even be "dying" for the causes of Objectivism since the effects of Objectivism are for life not death.

The right type of organization would be like the Ayn Rand Institute. It would advocate Objectivism and defend Objectivism from attack (the side-benifit).

I understand what you are saying and I will keep that in mind while I'm making the website.

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I was just now thinking it might be worth "dying" for the cause but that would be wrong to because the "killing" would not be worth the guaranteed "dying" in the end. It would be living off the soon to be dead not it's own creative ability. It wouldn't even be "dying" for the causes of Objectivism since the effects of Objectivism are for life not death.

It is true that the purpose of Objectivism is not death but life. It is because of this that I feel it would be worth dying for. Allow me to explain:

Every other philosophy I have ever studied has been, at its core, death-worship. The motive power, the goal and the means of Objectivist philosophy is not death; the goal of LIFE is not death: it is life. To fight for a world in which such a philosophy (objectivism) thrived, to have that as a purpose would make for a most beautiful life. To live and work for the furthering of Objectivism would be a noble thing, but the purpose of such a life would not be to DIE for objectivism, it would be to live for yourself, and the only philosophy that can furthur a rational being's happiness. If, in the process of living to furthur this goal, one were to be killed, it would be worth it, but it would certainly not have been the GOAL of such a life. The goal of that life was to live. Fully. Completely. Without compromising and accepting a world which did not meet that being's standards. But, if killed in the process, this would be the greatest tragedy. Unlike the contemporary fundamentalists of nearly every OTHER movement, death-worship being at their core, what could be more brilliant or beautiful for THEM but to die for their cause? But you see in one case it is a terrible tragedy, and in the other it is the ultimate goal.

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  • 1 year later...

I know this thread has been dead for a year and a half but I felt I should throw in my two cents about Adbusters, especially since I used to be an adament supporter of them until I read Atlas Shrugged.

From what I gather, Adbusters originated because of a dispute between the founders and a television station who refused to air one of their ads. The ad was in reaction to a series of ads by a local logging company in Canada. The TV station was well within their rights to refuse to air the ad but the Adbusters mounted a large scale protest and court challenges which eventually forced the station to air Adbusters' ads.

Their goal is now the same in the United States. For years, they have tried to get various networks, including the six broadcast networks as well as CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC to broadcast an ad which basically consists of 30 seconds of a black screen with some propaganda about how ads are bad for you and you shouldn't buy anything on "Buy Nothing Day" (an annual day the group sponsers on the day after Thanksgiving, the busiest retail shopping day of the year, in an effort to encourage consumers not to buy anything for 24 hours in an effort to hurt the retail chains and "send a message"). So far, Adbusters has had little success in encouraging the networks to air their ad. They do, however, believe they are successful, as evidenced by the quote currently on the entrance to their page which implies the slump in sales Wal-Mart experienced on Black Friday this year are as a result of Buy Nothing Day.

They have also stated that one of their goals is to get a federal law passed which states broadcasters must air any ad that a paying customer wishes to air, regardless of content.

Yes, it now makes me sick to believe I supported this group in any way. They do scare me. They don't realize that the very corporations who they attack are the reason they can exsist in this country.

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What's great is that Adbusters is now in business. They are trying to market their own brand of sneaker, which is essentially a Chuck Taylor All-Star with a black dot on it. The black dot is their "anti-logo"

...which, last time I checked, is still a logo, people!

Adbusters is trying to open a shoe factory in either Asia or Eastern Europe, which are the places where evil capitalists exploit their workers by paying them two cents a day. Adbusters claims that they will treat their workers humanely. (Whatever that means.) I can't wait to see how long they remain in "anti-business" by paying bloated wages to their workers.

Its a blast watching these people backpedal and use capitalistic terms to defend their actions. The only way they can "refute" capitalism...is by becoming capitalistic?

:(

...right...

...and redfarmer?...remember...a thread is never too dead to toss in one last kick into the belly of a dead horse like Adbusters!

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Buy Nothing Day is kinda popular here. A few of my teachers stack Adbuster magazines as reading material at the back of the class. This Buy Nothing Day I spent about 300 CAD online :dough: I haven't spent that much for a long while.

This is the Adbusters guy on TV: http://adbusters.org/metas/eco/bnd/wrapup/kalle.html

The CNN reporter did a horrible job of defending any position. Infact, she agreed that it was "politically correct."

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Buy Nothing Day is kinda popular here. A few of my teachers stack Adbuster magazines as reading material at the back of the class. This Buy Nothing Day I spent about 300 CAD online  I haven't spent that much for a long while.

You should stack copies of Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal and Return of the Primitive next to the copies of Adbusters. :)

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The CNN/Adbusters spot is mind-boggling. There are just so many wrong arguments in it that it pains me to watch it. The very fact that they have given him airtime - and given it to him without demanding that he PROVE any of his so-called arguments - is infuriating.

He proudly points out the fact that Buy Nothing Day is "celebrated" in over 65 countries around the world. Which countries, Mr. Lasn? Could they be the very countries where people can't afford to spend any money at all? Which doesn't help them create growth and wealth in their own countries. Mr. Lasn just doesn't see ANY connection between spending and the growth of wealth in general. He doesn't want people to over-consume...he wants them to STOP consuming...

...except of course for their fabulous new sneaker with the "anti-logo"...

Mr. Lasn seems to think that the only way to keep people from maxing out their credit cards is too create a society WITHOUT credit cards...or even the need for credit cards.

The glorious look on his face when he speaks of millions of people not buying a single thing is the look I imagine to be on Jim Taggarts face in Atlas Shrugged. Frightening.

Mr. Lasn admits to confusion over the fact that people, after the "spiritual" holiday of Thanksgiving, choose to go out and spend money. Perhaps, Mr. Lasn, that is the best way the people can give thanks to those that are actually responsible for pulling them out of the muck - to the producers of society. He described Thanksgiving as spiritual - he's closer to the truth than he thinks. Man's "spirit" is in the things he produces and trades value for. What would we have in place of that in Mr. Lasn's glorious non-consumer (therefore non-producer) world to come. Well, you do the math...my stomach is too weak for it.

Then, Mr. Lasn goes on to explain how consumption is the root cause of terrorism. Why? Because our ability to create wealth makes them "feel bad." Also, "we" consume 86% of the world's wealth and leave 14% for the rest of the world to fight over. Where does that wealth come from, and was it there before we "took" it like the little piggies Mr. Lasn thinks we are? He doesn't really say, but I doubt if CNN had given him an entire day to come up with something he would have come up with something - anything - that would make sense and prove his point. (If he had one.)

There's so much more wrong with this, but why beat the aforementioned dead horse? (Even if it is so easy and fun.)

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What's great is that Adbusters is now in business. They are trying to market their own brand of sneaker, which is essentially a Chuck Taylor All-Star with a black dot on it. The black dot is their "anti-logo"

...which, last time I checked, is still a logo, people!

Adbusters is trying to open a shoe factory in either Asia or Eastern Europe, which are the places where evil capitalists exploit their workers by paying them two cents a day. Adbusters claims that they will treat their workers humanely. (Whatever that means.) I can't wait to see how long they remain in "anti-business" by paying bloated wages to their workers.

For people that don't like advertising and marketing, they sure do it well. Notice the shoes look almost exactly like the popular Chuck Taylor brand.

I wonder if that is trademark infringement...

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NOTE: Nothing below should be construed as opposing the right of a company to create and market a product as they see fit.

Adbusters is a mixed bag.

On the one hand it has elements of the anti-corporate anti-globalist movement.... enough said there.

The other side is an attempt to raise awareness of the phenomenon of "branding". This is an issue of how consumers ought philosophically to approach products they may or may not buy.

It is one thing for a consumer to approach a product (which they have been made aware of by advertising), and make a rational decision as to whether this particular product meets their needs (in price, style, performance, etc.)

It is an entirely different thing for a consumer to approach a brand looking for the brand to represent a "life-style" they want to be a part of. Put in other words, the phenomenon of "branding" is to present a series of products falling under the brand name as comprising a "life-style" or a "philosophy of life" or a "world view", which the consumer is to buy into (literally).

In more practical terms it is find if one buys a Nike sneaker because it meets their footware needs, but it is another to buy it because the Nike life-style of "Just Do It" is who they want to be.

In this second sense Adbusters is doing some good in raising awareness and freeing individual minds to be rational in purchasing decisions, and not being irrational slaves to advertising hype.

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NOTE:  Nothing below should be construed as opposing the right of a company to create and market a product as they see fit.

Adbusters is a mixed bag.

On the one hand it has elements of the anti-corporate anti-globalist movement....  enough said there.

The other side is an attempt to raise awareness of the phenomenon of "branding".  This is an issue of how consumers ought philosophically to approach products they may or may not buy.

It is one thing for a consumer to approach a product (which they have been made aware of by advertising), and make a rational decision as to whether this particular product meets their needs (in price, style, performance, etc.)

It is an entirely different thing for a consumer to approach a brand looking for the brand to represent a "life-style" they want to be a part of.  Put in other words, the phenomenon of "branding" is to present a series of products falling under the brand name as comprising a "life-style" or a "philosophy of life" or a "world view", which the consumer is to buy into (literally).

In more practical terms it is find if one buys a Nike sneaker because it meets their footware needs, but it is another to buy it because the Nike life-style of "Just Do It" is who they want to be.

In this second sense Adbusters is doing some good in raising awareness and freeing individual minds to be rational in purchasing decisions, and not being irrational slaves to advertising hype.

Speaking for myself, it would seem to me that only an extremely weak person philisophically would fall for any sort of "branding" nonsense. I buy items because I want to, not because the little glowing box tells me I need to. I remember as a kid refusing to eat "Beanie Weenies" because I thought their commercials were incredibly stupid.

Didn't Leonard Peikoff give a lecture on a topic similar to this at some point?

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...Adbusters is doing some good in raising awareness and freeing individual minds to be rational in purchasing decisions, and not being irrational slaves to advertising hype.

Yes, but Adbusters won't be happy until you make no purchasing decisions. Watch the CNN video and look at the glee on his face when he talks about people not buying anything. Its chilling, I tell you.

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Speaking for myself, it would seem to me that only an extremely weak person philisophically would fall for any sort of "branding" nonsense.

I second that. Exactly how much crack do you have to do before you qualify as needing the kind of "help" that adbusters offers. Years ago in College I had a bunch of (older) people buy into a marxist argument that I was opposing because they thought that advertising "made" people buy products and that it subverted their free will.

I suspect they were projecting their personal psychologies...

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The implicit goal of objectivists (as I understand it) is to bring about a more rational society. Raising awareness of branding (which clearly works on a large segment of the American population) is in fact a promotion of rationality.

In fact "branding" as a phenomenon is beginning to dominate what passes for political discourse in America. As this last election showed, presidential politics is increasingly about selling the "Republican" or "Democrat" brands to the people with very little actual content being discussed. A rational population that doesn't fall for branding might actually force the parties to start discussing issues in some sort of depth again.

If one is going to write off a large segment of the American population as "weak minded" then one had better be prepared to say that they want America to remain the irrational morass it is today.

Or do you prefer that America stay that way?

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