Some years ago I subscribed to a ridiculous number of magazines. The number of magazines that I currently receive is now but a trickle and the number is still decreasing. But I am going to resubscribe to Adbusters because it is one of the few publications out there that can surprise its readers. Their last two issues certainly surprised me.
Vol.12 No.6 Nov/Dec 2004
"After the Fall"
I will ignore the fact that the cover Adbusters features their anti-brand logo and instead describe the strangeness inside. Well, actually I don't have to - the pictoral photo essay that sets the tone of this issue has been turned into a flash animation piece.
This is a theme issue and the theme asks the question, What would Adbusters look like if the world's capitalist structure completely crashed after a bio-terrorist attack on New York City (S.11.2) ?
The short answer is: smug. Lots of letters from struggling but happy off-the-gridders ("Hey Adbusters crew, You won't believe where I ended up. I'm in northern Indiana on an Amish farm") and still the same psycho-babble on such matters as how the alphabet oppresses us.
But flawed as it is, I think this Adbusters is brave and honestly portrays an a generally unsaid belief of the Culture Jamming set - the belief that global economic collapse is something to be desired and rushed. I've run into it before. An ex-boyfriend of a friend of mine admitted that he believed that the only thing that would save the planet is if we could use up all the oil before we destroyed life on Earth completely with our machines.
But what's damming is that this issue is shockingly naive. Here's an excerpt from another faux-letter:
"I was never certain I would get back home, but thanks to a few Good Samaritans and a healthy dose of serendipity, I made it. And on account of my academic backgroud, I was immediately asked to join a group of local community leaders who were trying to configure an alternative economy... and it's been a struggle, but I think I've managed to convince people to loan each other resources without charging interest."
Wow. That's the kind of world for me! Where can I sign up to bring about a global collapse of capitalism! Oh wait. That would be mean joining the Terrorists. That can't be right. Can it?
And then, just to really mess me up - I get the next issue of Adbusters which is a throw back to the issues in which they wrote essays to explain their positions and the cover looks very much like the traditional annual World In issue of the Economist...
I have no idea what form the next issue of Adbusters will be. And that's why I'm going to resubscribe.