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Adbusters - May/June 2011

  • Image: Image
  • Issue Number: Number 95
  • Published Date: May/June 2011
  • Publication Cycle: Bimonthly

This issue of Adbusters, subtitled POST—with an Arabic word insertion—WEST, is at first glance an irreverent avant-garde (the publishers probably think using avant-garde is passé) mish-mash of advertisements, graphics, photographs, art, essays, book excerpts, observations, and poetry about economics, capitalism, politics, jihad, revolution, militarism, overpopulation, aquaculture, genetic modification, anarchy, and you name it.

It is an alternative way for "a global network of culture jammers and creatives working to change the way information flows, the way corporations wield power, and the way meaning is produced in our society." It would help a new reader if somewhere in the journal was included their website concern "about the erosion of our physical and cultural environments by commercial forces" at Based in Vancouver, BC, Adbusters is a non-profit and claims a circulation of 120,000, "dedicated to examining the relationship between human beings and their physical and mental environment." At second glance, it provides both provocative and thoughtful observations.

This issue's contents, in very nontraditional form, are "What Matters in Life, Jihad (Striving), What Matters in Death, How do I Love? and How can we be of service to one another in the world?” Seven other content titles are in either Arabic or Hebrew, so one needs an interpreter. Ads by Versace, Burberry, Boeing, Casio, Coca Cola, Lexapro (an antidepressant), Goldman Sachs, and Vogue are included as counterpoint to tradition.

Essays about military drones, enhanced interrogation, sovereign wealth funds buying cheap land in underdeveloped countries, pollution, population control, and advertising evils are included. A Finnish writer, Pentii Linkola, in "A Demographic Plan," calls for the licensing of procreation, saying every woman should be allowed to bear only one child. Perhaps he overlooks the demographic need for fertility for workers to pay for old age benefits.

A more extended essay about Beijing, China in 2010, titled "and then it hit me…in the future…we will all be Chinese," by Charles Humphrey says it is the end of the world and that Beijing is Ground Zero, a "collapse of order and reason." It is:

development without progress, change without context, work without purpose. This is the end of our psychic world… We like to accuse the Chinese government of withholding the rule of law, to blame them for the impoverishment of the Chinese spirit and eradication of 5000 years of Chinese culture. The reality is that the Chinese are merely very fast learners. Western societies have developed and imposed a model of social organization on the world that is devoid of the conceptual distinctions that are central to creating meaningful social and psychic content… Beijing is the End of the World not because China is the future, but because in the future we have chosen to pursue, we will all be Chinese.

There are diatribes against consumption, foreign aid, even old age, and a call for revolution against corporatocracy akin to the American revolution for independence from Great Britain. An essay about the Qur'an promoting "compassion, justice, and equity" is puzzling.

The mag eschews any stated goal and prints text on dark backgrounds, making it difficult to read. Its masthead information is at the back of the journal. It is very thorough about providing credit to contributors, although one wonders if advertisements require any attributions. If it clearly purported its objectives, it would be a valuable contribution to increasing intellectual dialog for concerned persons.

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Review Posted on June 14, 2011

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