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Monday, September 12, 2011

Book Review: The Rebel Sell by Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter

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The Rebel Sell: Why The Culture Can’t Be Jammed takes aim at Michael Moore, Adbusters magazine, Naomi Klein, the women’s movement, leftists/rightists/centerists, hippies and basically any group that could be considered radical.

The book is an intellectual fistfight and I’m not sure who comes out the winner. Some readers will certainly feel beaten up.

The book is worth reading, but with special caution paid to rhetorical glissades and spin.

In short, Rebel Sell is a long missive advocating peace, order and good government.

Here are my top take-aways:

  1. The anti-capitalists are still capitalists, they just don’t know it.
  2. Corporate bullying (lobbying and tax exemptions) could be better dealt with by removing certain write-offs or decreasing the exemption percentages.
  3. Two wrongs don’t make a right. As in Adbusters’ “Buy Nothing Day” and the sales of Adbusters’ running shoes do not make us a better society.
  4. A capitalist society is not about conformity, and advertising is about knowing what’s available to buy.
  5. Hipsters and elitests are simply struggling for status, which is no different than teens wanting the new, cool thing.
  6. Feminists lost women power in some aspects of life.
  7. Free love wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
  8. And peace, love and happiness have been, and always will be, distritributed unevenly.
  9. Selling out is just realizing that you’re part of capitalism, and it’s not all bad.
  10. My problem with the authors’ worldview is that it is presented from a single perspective that manufactures support for their argument.

Again, it is worth reading, but make sure your thinking cap is tightly secured.


The Rebel Sell: Why The Culture Can’t Be Jammed
By Joseph Heath, Andrew Potter (Canadian authors)
Published by HarperCollins
Available in hardcover, paper, ebook

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