Marketing, memes, and good weekend reads

So thanks to my exceptionally helpful sis, over the past week I've gone through four fast fun reads (or fictional folios, in case, like me, you can't let the silly alliteration slip by) :
  • Gaiman and Pratchett- "Good Omens": a Light funny Douglas Adams-esque book about the apocalypse
  • James Maxey- "Nobody gets the girl": a novel in a very comic book style that's fun and a quick read with a predictable ( thanks to the publisher's note) twist at the end where we're supposed to question who are really the "good and "evil" characters
  • Jim Munroe- "Angry Young Spaceman": A guy's trip offworld to teach English with a lot of content about the spread of culture through marketing and the exploitation of perceptions to fuel/exploit subcultures. You can definitely feel munroe's adbusters pedigree in his writing, but it's not over the top, and the book's a great read ( though not as good as his "Everyone in Silico")
  • Max(x) Barry- "Jennifer Government": Heaviest of the lot in terms of mood but really the best of the bunch. It's got action, romance, marketing, explicit protest against evil megacorps, the jimmy stewart everyman schmo, and a gun-toting female lead reminiscent of a gibson razorgirl. I had a lot of fun with this one and I definitely like it's heavier social focus than other corporate controlled dystopian future views like gibson, stephenson, and p.k. dick.
The last three of these books all chronicled some serious spin ranging from controlling world understanding of catastrophic events to deciding what's cool for teenagers to wear. So, once again I've been thinking about what makes an idea or trend sticky and helps it get passed on. It's one thing to target a specific person to get them to feel strongly about something, but it's always impressed me how some sets of ideas can be so sticky that they spawn subcultures, and often bleed into the mainstream view of what's cool.

I find myself straddling the line on whether I'd like to be part of the machine manipulating and fueling these groups, or whether I'll join one that thinks of itself as fighting the trend. Ya know, engage in some culture jamming, wear antibrand clothing, buy fair trade goods, and maybe organize support for small to mid size businesses in developing markets ( what better way to hit coke or nike than help fund a co-op of locally strong brands with a joint production and distribution infrastructure).

This is of course all academic now but I've been jotting done on the post-it board again ( check the orange and red notes) and maybe a company will form out of some of this 5 years from now, or maybe I'll just become a more active blogger

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