Cultural Jamming: Hacking, Slashing, and Sniping in the Empire of Signs Review

I was unaware of what exactly cultural jamming was before reading this article by Mark Dery. I read this article. I also looked up images of what this looks like today and I realized that I see it quite often, people defacing ads to expose what a company is really about and/or who they take advantage of. I found it interesting that the article discussed the effects that television have on us, essentially brainwashing us into seeing what they want us to believe to be true.

The article discussed the Reagan years and the manipulation of images to create something that they wanted the people to see. The article also mentioned the lack of information that is fed to us if it is damning to the government. For example, he mentioned a filmmaker that brought back distressing images of Iraq under U.S. bombardment. He was fired and the footage never aired and people voted for the right not to know. This is what people thought of it in a pole done by The New York Times: “Given a choice between increasing military control over information or leaving it to news organizations to make most decisions about reporting on the war, 57 per cent of those responding said they would favor greater military control.”

Mark goes into detail about how the public should take action in controlling the message and its multiple ways of interpretation. In other words, as the audience, we have the ability to expose an underlying message that something might have. He also explains what it means to be a cultural jammer: “Culture jammers answer to that name. “Jamming” is CB slang for the illegal practice of interrupting radio broadcasts or conversations between fellow hams with lip farts, obscenities, and other equally jejune hijinx.” Mark went into detail about how cultural jamming has inserted itself into our culture today for example, “Outlaw computer hacking with the intent of exposing institutional or corporate wrongdoing is one example; “slashing,” or textual poaching, is another.” these are just a couple ways that cultural jamming is at work.

After reading this article I looked into cultural jamming more and found out just how much can be exposed about a business just from a few damning words slapped on alongside a companies logo. It challenges the audience to look into what a business is all about. This article was interesting because I didn’t realize how wide spread it was today. I now know to keep an eye out for more signs of cultural jamming.


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