Monday 18 August 2008

Stuff Ned Kelly and Bonny and Clyde. I find modern day Robin Hoods like Ron English far more inspiring :)

Saw a doco late last night/early this morning about this dude who's been crusading against Corporate America (TM) for the last 25 years by hijacking billboards and putting up stuff to make some people think.

Rock on. This kind of stuff gets me excited, you know? Culture jamming! This dude does jail time for his passion to use his talent to make people think (and drive his wife crazy in the process, which was quite amusing. He's been promising her for years to stop doing these billboards and do more painting to make some cash. But he seems to have a bit of an addiction going on).

Yeah, yeah, I know - this is illegal. But then so were indigenous Australians keeping their children, or black and white Americans sitting together on the bus. And yeah, I know those things and advertising are a bit different. Or are they? Like he said, corporate America - corporate World - gets to relentlessly, constantly infiltrate us 24 hours a day. I complain on here semi-regularly about advertising, and the relentless, constant infiltration of our own minds. Sometimes I think advertising will be one of those things that the world will look back on in 100 years time (if it's still here) and scratch its head at the ridiculous things humans allow to be done to them.

Now, I think that all things powerful, corporate and controlling are entitled to be criticised. Indeed, require criticism. Which definitely includes religion. Christianity has for too long been a power dome no-go zone which i probably why it's grown an extra head or seven in some parts. However, this one seems a bit "what the hell are you saying here anyway?" to me, you know? A teensy bit childish, maybe. Just plain silly. Provocative. Or maybe I'm missing the point, I don't know.

It doesn't offend me - once it may have. Do you find it offensive? To me, I don't think he is criticising Jesus Christ hanging on a cross. But even if he is - why do the criticisms of other people against Christianity get played so offensive. Why are some Christians so defensive? In fact, this doesn't even seem like a criticism against Christianity to me. It just seems ... well, I guess in some ways it seems a bit dumb. A bit childishly provocative maybe. But surely slightly nonsensical, right? If you believe in any kind of God, to get offended at this seems to me to miss the point of Christianity entirely (a powerful God making himself weak). And so it's surely ironic, Alannis, considering the content, that after they put this one up, a vanload of people began chasing them, while meanwhile someone had gone to grab a baseball bat from their nearby apartment. Started chasing them down the road.


Edit: Tyler went a-searching and came up with this explanation, origin unknown, for the Jesus billboard:
English said the image and message are meant to comment on the hypocrisy of the Religious Right, whose intolerance he compares to that of the mob that urged Pontius Pilate to sentence Jesus Christ.
Well, then, I admire him even more :) That's one powerful joint you're messing with there, dude.;


  1. It just seems as long as advertising/propoganda works at shaping people's behavior it will be used. I just don't want to live under the subtle control of it any longer.

    I might be mistaken here but his counter adds seem to be a fear based propaganda also?

  2. Oh, I thought your posts were gone, they are just shoved down below everything else.

    Dude, maybe we are idiots together but when I saw it the first thing I said was, "huh? Maybe Sue can enlighten me." Unfortunately, you were clueless too, so I have to shove this in my, "WTF was he thinking?" category. There's a lot of stuff in there, including a lot of the art you like. rofl.

    I might chase him with a baseball bat too and force him to explain it to me, I hate it when something just doesn't make any sense.

  3. OK, here it is, I couoldn't stand not knowing:

    "English said the image and message are meant to comment on the hypocrisy of the Religious Right, whose intolerance he compares to that of the mob that urged Pontius Pilate to sentence Jesus Christ."

    Maybe it would have been more effective if he had used a different slogan. It was the drunk part that threw me, I couldn't see where it was coming from. I still don't, I think he could have done something far more effective. Like have a picture of a church up there..... and this

    "Let's get drunk on the Spirit and kill God."

    Of course, then the evangelicals would have liked it because it was a slam on charismatics... hmmm.... maybe we need to have a new caption contest.

  4. No prizes for guessing that I thought the Jesus billboard was prophetic. I think it touches a nerve somewhere very deep in the American soul. Which could be why he was chased with baseball bats:) Prophets are usually chased with something... If you put something like that up here, people would just laugh and make a joke about VB or the cricket, probably.

    I watched it too and was inspired and excited. If only I had his talent:)

  5. Kent - fear based propaganda? I'm not so sure. I think it might be something a bit more sbutle than that (but then I may be wrong there. But I didn't read it like that. I think it's much more playful than that.

    Tyler - LOL :) Thanks for the update. That makes a bit more sense now, but the slogan threw me, like you. Now you've given that explanation, I kinda like it :)

    Monk - surprise surprise :) I loved this guy, his passion. They shouldn't put inspiring things on so late - keeps me up writing blog posts. And you got talent enough, boyo.

  6. Sue, it was just an observation that could be totally wrong. Things like this really don't get much if any reaction out of me anymore.

  7. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this.

    I actually wonder if he did do this for the reaction content, now I think about it further. Perhaps the reaction was an unfortunate side effect of the point he was trying to make??

  8. Can you explain that further Sue? I'm interested in what you're thinking here.

  9. Well, it's ironic that those people got so violent towards him, isn't it? Maybe he was holding up a mirror? Maybe - I guess I'm thinking here in scapegoating, Girardian terms - the mob mentality shouting "Crucify him! Crucify him!" is closer to the front door of the Church than it would like to believe?

  10. The Church as evidenced by those people who reacted in that way.

    I don't know if I can tease out the strands of what I'm trying to say with this bloddy foggy head :)

  11. Sue, I think that is an observation that fits. I think our reactions tell us more about ourselves then they ever do about the things that are causing us to react. Most often (probably safe to say always) it is impossible for us to define exactly what the other's motives are and most likey when we assume we do know we are probably not even close.

  12. "I think our reactions tell us more about ourselves than they ever do about the thins that are causing us to react."


    Damn right. Don't it suck? HEHE :)

    Yes. Now to swim in that sea that has that on the one hand, and the knowledge that we can't really know others motives on the other. I think maybe it's called "Deal with your own shit and think the best of other people 'cause you'll never know."

    Which is probably more succinctly described, now I think about it, as Love your neighbour as yourself, maybe???? And love your enemy :)

  13. Do we even know if the people with the baseball bats were hardcore evangelicals?

  14. The apostle Paul's words come to mind:

    I no longer judge any man according to the flesh...I no longer even judge myself.

    It really is a dangerous silly game thinking we can know what is going on in anyone else's mind and heart and motives when often we can be fooled by our own. When we react, a far as what I am learning today, it signals something inside us that is keeping us from staying in place of trust and rest. For me, the times I was in reaction to things happening around me, it was exposed as me being controlled by those things instead of Jesus within me.

  15. I think that slogan actually goes far beyond a comment on the religious right. Whether he intended it or not. But I do think it touches on something deep in the collective American soul. What Im not exactly sure... care to comment Kent? Am I painting it with to broad a stroke?

  16. The collective soul of America certainly needs help but I'm not sure this guy's approach will accomplish anything positive. It's pretty typical as far as I can see. This to me smacks of all the other IN-YOUR-FACE confrontation that saturates our airwaves and public discourse here in America. It just promotes a deeper hardening of people's already hardened positions by insulting them through the attacking of their idols. All of which McDonalds, cigarettes, alcohol, and the white conservative Americanized Jesus image qualify as.

  17. Jumping in late...I have never been a better Christian than I am since I started drinking again. (in responsible moderation...usually;-)

    I love the billboard!

  18. Monk - I talked about Girardian stuff back here: http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.listAll&friendID=188791547&startID=280748275&StartPostedDate=2007-06-26%2006:15:00&next=1&page=11&Mytoken=3A9002C7-7E8E-43A6-BE6F7326F95847A7100977719 (see the first post, Desire ... I don't know if it fits in with what I am saying here, though. I actually feel like I am trying to have 14 different conversations at once and mixing my brain up).

    And no, I don't know that those people were hardcore evangelicals. It is interesting to me that sometimes the people that react the most are the cultural Christians, the ones that tick the box on the census form but don't have any real relationship.

    Kent - I actually felt like what this guy was doing, even though yes, it is harsh, is directed towards Corporate America itself rather than the people, even though it is for the people. Jamming the messages, you know? Kind of undermining the power, showing it up for what it really is - just flimsy inrealities created by people in advertising agencies.

    Erin - yeah, you're a tattooed (nice!) heretical drunkard, you are. You rock :)


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