IN SEPTEMBER 2003, Adbusters magazinethe flagship publication of the culture-jamming movementstarted selling Black Spot Sneakers, its own signature brand of subversive running shoes. This act represented a seismic shift in the popular anti-consumer movement. As cultural critics Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter point out, no one could possibly believe there was still any difference between mainstream and alternative culture. The only possible conclusion: the counterculture is not a threat to the systemit is the system.
In a book guaranteed to incense both the followers of Naomi Kleins No Logo, as well as their right-wing counterparts, Heath and Potter shatter the myth that continues to dominate our political, economic and cultural thinking, underpinning everything from the anti-globalization movement to feminism and environmentalism. They argue that decades of countercultural rebellion have not only been unhelpful, but counterproductive. We have become so used to right-wing attacks against the counterculture that its hard to imagine what a left-wing critique would look like. The Rebel Sell offers a startlingly clear picture, claiming that we need to untangle concern over questions of social justice from the countercultural critiqueand dump the latter to pursue the former. In a wide-ranging narrative thats a lively blend of pop culture history, political manifesto and investigative analysis, The Rebel Sell looks at the following:
the birth of the counterculturewho really killed Kurt Cobain?
being normalenforcement of norms and the cardinal sin of the counterculture
rebellion as a source of distinction and the birth of the rebel consumer
from status seekers to cool-huntersthe decline of prestige and the rise of cool jobs
making peace with the massesthe inescapable market and how we turn consumers into citizens
The political book of the seasonto be published simultaneously with HarperCollins USThe Rebel Sell will be both deified and vilified. Most of all, it will be debated.