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YouTube Video of Saint Louis Buy Nothing Day 2002 by Aaron Michaels
|| 12/20/2008 || 2:55 pm || Comments Off on YouTube Video of Saint Louis Buy Nothing Day 2002 by Aaron Michaels || ||

Earlier this week I decided to add this archived video to the repository known as YouTube. I’ve had it for 6 years now and decided to finally upload the video because I could not find anywhere else on-line. I still feel the message that we were delivering then is the same as now: don’t go into debt buying presents for others during the holiday season and if you must give presents, try making them first.

The article that was published in the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch regarding this demonstration was the first time my name appeared in newspapers. The story behind this video goes like this….

On October 2nd, 2002 I created a Yahoo Group dedicated to the planning of Buy Nothing Day in Saint Louis. After a few planning meetings and e-mail discussions, the members of group decided to create giant credit cards that we’d drag around the malls in the Saint Louis area. We also produced & handed out fliers with suggestions on how to avoid going into debt during the holiday season.

This video by Aaron Michaels highlights the news coverage we generated and documents the message we were advocating. The first part is a music video featuring a modified Christmas carol sung by Sara Lucas spliced with footage from the news & us dragging the cards and handing out fliers. The second part of the video features news clips & interviews with participants highlighting why chose to demonstrate. I show up around 4:35 into the video.

I haven’t gone out of the way to purchase gifts for my family this year. Its nice that we’ve stopped doing the gifts for nearly 10 years now. I am going to Colorado next week to visit some of my family and I feel my presence will be the best gift I can give to rarely-seen family. Interestingly, I think yesterday’s commissioned map follows closely with this video’s messaging because the client was asking me to make her a gift. It wasn’t like client decided to hitup Walmart for the gift that millions of others might get, rather she went for something that’s truly one of kind.

Related Adbusters Entries:


Hipster : The Dead End of Western Civilization By Douglas Haddow
|| 7/28/2008 || 2:48 pm || 8 Comments Rendered || ||

This entry has depreciated, please click here to read the official article on the Adbusters website.

Below is the feature article of Adbuster’s Magazine Issue #79, which should hit newsstands either today or tomorrow. As a subscriber to the magazine, I received my copy in the mail last Thursday and after reading the entire issue I decided to spend an hour Friday afternoon transcribing the feature article for this blog entry.

Normally I don’t waste my time transcribing articles, but I have a strong feeling that this article will not be published on their website in its entirety and I feel that by sharing it here I’m able to direct more people to the magazine’s website than would otherwise visit. I don’t think Adbusters will take too much issue to my reprinting of their article, but if they do I’ll remove it from my website. I’ve already been their anti-advertisement lackey before and probably helped sell dozens of their corporate flags when I was featured in the Sunday Style section of the Washington Post on the 4th of July, 2004.

What I enjoyed most about this article is that it hits close to home. Depending on what clothes I might be wearing I could easily be considered a hipster under the definition outlined in the article below. However, what’s lacking in the demographic the author outlines are those that bridge the gap between socially aware and unaware. As in, can someone stand for something, but not have it thrown in the face of the unaware? On my behalf, I can say that I’m fully aware of what style I am supporting just as I am aware of what corporations I am not supporting in my clothing, music, and transportation choices (I have two bicycles; neither of which are fixed-gear). Aren’t culture jammers supposed to be wolves in sheep’s clothing that can blend in, but stand out when the time arises?

In this respect, the author makes little room for someone like myself to exist within the rubric of hipsterdom. Can one be stylish, but not hipster? Or can one be socially conscious while maintaining the decorum of that which the author loathes? The inherent irony is that many of the clothes the author points out are also clothing items that were not made in a sweatshop.

As a mashup of all demographics before it, how then will the future be defined by the absence of this mashup? Essentially, if hipsterdom is to die, then how can a new demographic be born anew without stealing some its tenets, much like all previous generations did before it? In that respect, the author attempts to answer this by stating we are at the end of the Western Civilization because we have no where to grow, move, or redefine ourselves. Yet the author doesn’t give much direction as to how we are to accomplish this.

I ask those rhetorical questions above because I generally agree with the author’s conclusions, yet as someone that straddles the demographic at hand, I don’t see the how the demographic will end or morph without some cataclysmic event that forces the delineation between those who have both substance and style and those that are simply posing for the camera blissfully unaware of their choices. Only time will tell…I hope you enjoy the read and if you do, go out and purchase the magazine yourself.

Hipster : The Dead End of Western Civilization
By Douglas Haddow for Adbusters Magazine, Issue #79

I’m sipping a scummy pint of cloudy beer in the back of a trendy dive bar turned nightclub in the heart of the city’s heroin district. In front of me stand a gang of hippiesh grunge-punk types, who crowd around each other and collectively scoff at the smoking laws by sneaking puffs of “fuck-you,” reveling in their perceived rebellion as the haggard, staggering staff look on without the slightest concern.

The “DJ” is keystroking a selection of MP3s off his MacBook, making a mix that sounds like he took a hatchet to a collection of yesteryear billboard hits, from DMX to Dolly Parton, but mashed up with a jittery techno backbeat.

“So… is this a hipster party?” I ask the girl sitting next to me. She’s wearing big dangling earrings, an American Apparel V-neck tee, non-prescription glasses and an inappropriately warm wool coat.

“Yeah, just look around you, 99 percent of the people here are total hipsters!”

“Are you a hipster?”

“Fuck no,” she says laughing back the last of her glass before she hops off to the dance floor.

Continue reading:


Al-Jazeera VS. CNN on Banksy’s show in LA
|| 9/17/2006 || 10:22 pm || Comments Off on Al-Jazeera VS. CNN on Banksy’s show in LA || ||

My favorite culture jammer / art terrorist / meme warrior, Banksy had an exhibit in LA this weekend. I posted the info about it last Friday night on MySpace. Since then there has been AP, UPI, and Reuters news releases which resulted in over 370 news stories about his exhbit.

Of note is how the artist is covered in the press. CNN literally attacks the messenger (the elephant) instead of addressing it’s message (poverty, social justice, etc.), while Al-Jazeera using the Reuters report treats the exhibit in a more balanced tone. Few of the articles even reference this similar stunt where he painted farm animals (see below)).


p3 continued…
|| 5/18/2005 || 10:15 am || Comments Off on p3 continued… || ||


Students awarded for ‘sustainable designs’
EPA contest showcases environmental technologies

Updated: 12:57 p.m. ET May 18, 2005

Seven teams of university students and professors beat out 65 others in a “sustainability design” competition sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, presenting technologies that ranged from solar ovens to small wind turbines.

“The originality and breadth of these projects demonstrates the high degree of innovation and environmental interest that exists on college campuses today,” E. Timothy Oppelt, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development, said in a statement announcing the winners. “These young students represent the scientific leadership of tomorrow.”

The idea behind the first-ever P3 Award — named for people, prosperity and the planet — is to get students and others to think about how to use energy and other resources in a way that doesn’t threaten long-term survival, both in the developed world and in developing nations.

Some 400 students and professors set up their presentations on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., over the weekend. A panel convened by the National Academy of Sciences judged the competition.

The seven winners were teams from:

* Oberlin College. They designed a system that monitors total energy and water use for individual dormitory floors or an entire college campus.
* Rochester Institute of Technology. Their study looked at how solar ovens could be mass-produced at low cost in Latin America using local resources. The idea is to reduce wood consumption and thus deforestation, while providing local jobs.
* University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Students are measuring the effectiveness of three drinking-water treatment technologies intended for the developing world.
* University of Colorado at Denver. The team looked at Trishul, a tribal village in India, to see if it could adopt environmentally friendly energy technologies, such as small wind turbines, composting and solar cookers. The idea is to use what’s learned in other developing areas that lack traditional electricity.
* University of California-Berkeley. Students are testing two designs to disinfect drinking water, and even conducting user preference and willingness-to-pay surveys.
* Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A management model for research labs is being designed that allows labs to use less toxic and less polluting green chemical alternatives.
* University of Michigan. A computer-based tool was developed to let homeowners monitor their resource consumption. Real-time costs and environmental impacts are delivered to then show how conservation actions are reflected in dollars saved and emissions reduced.

I have done some extra legwork for the article above and I added the links to the winning project abstracts. All the projects can be viewed here.

Nonetheless, I am sad my favorite design didn’t win….

However I am surprised that the University of Michigan’s other design didn’t win. When I spoke with the creators I mentioned how their design seemed to based off of an idea that was posed by Adbusters Magazine a few years back. The student actually mentioned that there was a prototype created by someone in Norway that they based their design from. Essentially they created a means for consumers to find out a wide array of the product’s information by scanning the barcode. The Norwegian prototype didn’t have the ability to check a real database. Check their website for more information.

On Adbusters Magazine’s Website
|| 4/30/2005 || 5:25 am || Comments Off on On Adbusters Magazine’s Website || ||

This is a picture of me handing out books at the beginning of TV Turnoff Week in DuPont Circle. Regardless, I hope Adbusters decides to update the content on the page! Why? On friday night we put out this call to the listserv:


DC Jammers
|| 4/20/2005 || 9:19 pm || Comments Off on DC Jammers || ||

I’ve been helping organize the DC Chapter of Adbusters Magazine’sJammer Groups” and tonight I created an animation using a graphic from one of their flyers. Check the website out….and remember that TV Turnoff Week begins next week!

September 3rd, 1967 – what have we learned?
|| 2/11/2005 || 12:55 am || Comments Off on September 3rd, 1967 – what have we learned? || ||

I just found this a few clicks away from the bible verse in my last post….

Iraq as another Vietnam? Compare election coverage then and now.
Consider the US government’s cheery assessment of Iraq’s recent election, and then read this article from the September 3, 1967 issue of the New York Times. Insert ‘Iraq’ for ‘Vietnam’ and ask: So what have we learned?

I think we’ve learned that people will believe anything they read or hear.
Oh yeah, and those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.

Adbusters on CNN
|| 12/2/2004 || 12:16 am || Comments Off on Adbusters on CNN || ||

I have posted on the two social networking websites I belong to this link of Adbusters Magazine’s editor talking about Buy Nothing Day. As mentioned before, this was my 3rd year celebrating it, and to be honest, seeing this video makes my participation more poingent.

Afterall, I am proudly featured their website concerning a story about me that was published in the Washington Post on the 4th of July. :-)

Nonetheless, if you haven’t picked up the newest issue- PLEASE DO. It is by far the best written and most well constructed issue yet. I would love hear your thoughts on the issue- and no, I am sorry you cannot borrow it.

If anyting, just watch this video.

Washington Post: Red, White and Golden Arches: The Star-Spangled Banner Ad
|| 7/4/2004 || 5:23 pm || Comments Off on Washington Post: Red, White and Golden Arches: The Star-Spangled Banner Ad || ||

This photograph & article appeared on the front page of the Style section July 4th, 2004

Red, White and Golden Arches: The Star-Spangled Banner Ad

By Tommy Nguyen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, July 4, 2004; Page D01

As waves of stars and stripes flood the city’s Fourth of July celebrations, Nikolas Schiller knows that the subtle redesign of his American flag will appear only as a tiny ripple on the sea, if it isn’t swallowed up completely. Doesn’t matter, he says. Schiller plans to be on the Mall today, by himself, with his makeshift flagpole and his skinny, 5-foot-9 vegetarian frame planted firmly against the tide.

“When people see all these corporate symbols, it sparks conversation, and that’s the beauty of this flag,” says Schiller, 23, a recent graduate of George Washington University. He’s talking about the swoosh of Nike, the beast of burden of Camel, the great eye of CBS, and 27 other corporate logos that, in Schiller’s world, have replaced the stars on America’s great tapestry in more ways than one.

Continue reading:


In Adbusters Magazine Issue #51 – The Buy Nothing Day Blackspot
|| 12/4/2003 || 6:32 am || Comments Off on In Adbusters Magazine Issue #51 – The Buy Nothing Day Blackspot || ||

My Buy Nothing Day Blackspot was featured in Adbusters Magazine issue #51.

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