Talk:Culture jamming

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Night discourse

What is it? A quick google search yielded nothing, and certainly nothing in terms of culture jamming.

Skooma2112 (talk) 23:02, 28 June 2011 (UTC)

I'd never heard of it, but it's in the refs (5 and 6). --Trevj (talk) 05:16, 29 June 2011 (UTC)

First person language

This is an essay written in first person language. Keep the "list of culture jamming organizations" and drop the rest. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dnavarro (talkcontribs) 20:26, 6 May 2009 (UTC)

The definition of "culture jamming"

The article defines "culture jamming" this way.

Culture jamming is an individualistic turning away from all forms of herd mentality – including that of social movements – and by that definition, culture jamming is generally not treated as a movement. Culture jamming is not defined by any specific political position or message, nor even by any specific cultural position or message. The common thread is mainly an urge to poke fun at the homogeneous nature of popular culture, often by means of guerrilla communication (communication unsanctioned or opposed by government or other powers-that-be).

First, "Culture jamming is an individualistic turning away from all forms of herd mentality – including that of social movements – and by that definition, culture jamming is generally not treated as a movement" as a definition, is too broad and may not even be accurate. Activists employ culture jamming techniques all the time, and common causes can be viewed as a sort of herd mentality. If we use that definition, then a hermit who lives alone in the woods is a culture jammer: he has turned away from all forms of herd mentality, hasn't he? And I don't think anybody would think "culture jamming" is a movement. It's a technique and a tactic, not an end unto itself.

A couple of paragraphs down comes closer to every definition of culture jamming I've heard: "Culture jamming sometimes entails transforming mass media to produce ironic or satirical commentary about itself, using the original medium's communication method." Like how radio jamming subverts the medium of radio, culture jamming has to subvert cultural media (the point of the "jamming" metaphor), and it usually has a point. Otherwise, "culture jamming" has NO distinguishable features than from artistic appropriation, vandalism, or just messing around. Purifiedwater (talk) 17:44, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

You're absolutely right. That has nothing to do with culture jamming. It should be removed. Moreover, culture jamming is a staple of leftism. Leftists don't typically use terms like "herd mentality". Collectivism has nothing to do with animals or herds, and it's generally regarded as a better alternative to rugged individualism. Take it out. It doesn't belong. It was likely some 15 year-old who added. Either that or a someone none-too-fond of culture jamming. Jiminezwaldorf (talk) 14:36, 1 April 2009 (UTC)
The best concrete example of culture jamming is the election of the drag queen Reann Sassie D'Loceanono Ballslee as the homecoming queen of George Mason University. It is actually close to the archetype of culture jamming and a good definition can be induced. If electing a drag queen as the homecoming queen is undoubtedly political.
So all the stuff about it not being political and the "herdmentality" as others mentioned is just wrong.
The definitin cited above is workable.
"Culture jamming sometimes entails transforming mass media to produce ironic or satirical commentary about itself, using the original medium's communication method."
There are a few problems with this though. The case of Reann is not just an instance of mass media. A drag queen elected as homecoming queen is a culture jam that is much broader then simply a critique of mass media. It subverts nearly the entire cultural system that constructs gender roles. The other problem with the definition is the unclear limits placed on what would count as culture jamming by the phrase, "using the original medium's communication method." I am not sure how Reeann used the original medium and I am not sure why that would have to do with the definition. I would also eliminate the qualifier "sometimes" and write the definition like this: "Culture jamming critiques and transforms cultural systems by subverting or disrupting the systems continuity or reproduction."
The problem with the rest of the article is it is so partisan that it strikes a tedious self righteous tone.
Outerspaceways Inc (talk) 03:37, 11 March 2009 (UTC)Outerspaceways Inc
Changed the definition, please edit and alter it if you don't like it. - Dalta (talk) 02:18, 2 May 2009 (UTC)
We assign terminology to everything today; everything has to have a catch-phrase label. Here we have such a case. A fabricated movement based on nothing in particular. Even break dancing has a more legitimate claim to originality than 'culture'jamming'. Because at least break dancing was an original innovation born of the city. Something that had not been seen before.
Just because Negativeland coined a phrase in 1984 doesn't mean it is legitimate or that this type of social dissent hasn't existed since the dawn of art. What these people call 'culture jamming' is simply a variation of graffiti which is an ancient social act. In the 1960's and 1970's, when graffiti art came to public awareness (how could it not? Every subway car of every subway train was awash in spray paint), it was a pure and legitimate form of expression and social criticism. In today's world everything is agenda-based and self-serving. So recent graffiti artists, and that is exactly what they are, promote this term to attach a certain intellectual recognition to public defacement. It is neither a movement nor is it worthy of specific categorization beyond graffiti. It is graffiti in its most basic definition. That is not to belittle graffiti, not in the slightest. This form of expression is many thousands of years old and is intrinsic to the nature of society and culture. One publicly displays something. Another paints over it, or alters it in some personal manner. Anyone can do it, there is no special privilege or license or training, and that is actually the point of graffiti. It didn't start in 1984; it can be labeled anything including 'cultural jamming' but that doesn't change these very basic facts. More importantly, this effort to insert such lexicon in popular dialogue is the most interesting part. It is typical of today's world- so quick to give a universal easy-to-read label to an already-labeled act, to promote this fiction in the interest of furthering individual careers. That is what this Wiki article is REALLY about. Movement? Please. What we have here is closer to a bowel movement. M.P. Landau (talk) 14:37, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
Additionally, the so-called 'definition' of culture jamming, illustrated by a list of examples, is entirely incorrect. A 'flash mob' doesn't fulfill the requirements of its definition and is in fact a performance, whereas the emphasis on definition is clearly directed towards political and social statement via alteration/defacement. Please describe how a flash mob (at least the examples seen on media) is a political/social criticism. It is closer to choreographed swimming than it is politics. And Hoffman's "Steal this Book" should be removed altogether because the point of Hoffman's book was to undermine the very industry it serves. Hoffman's entire life was an exercise in dissent. If we are to accord these actions with this fabricated non-existent world of culture-jamming, then we would have to include everyone who ever made an anti-social statement and that would include Thoreau, Socrates, Arthur Miller and so forth.
The article's 'definition' emphasizes critique of today's all-pervasive consumerism. If we are to include this as the target of critique, then the world currently possesses 7 billion culture-jammers. Because we all scorn commercialism as quickly as we accept it. But the author has difficulty elucidating specifics, and uses empty meaningless phraseology like "to disrupt or subvert media culture and its mainstream cultural institutions". What exactly is 'MEDIA CULTURE'? An empty phrase that sounds good but means nothing. Everything is 'media culture'. Everything always has been. When the first cave drawing was made in France thousands of years ago, that was 'media'. When Raphael painted Madonna and Child, that was 'media'. And it's all culture so please, stop with all-blanketing non-specific terms. Culture by definition is the byproduct of living organisms interacting. Nothing more. It is not limited to mankind. Cats have culture. So do fish and insects. As far as 'mainstream cultural institutions' are concerned, it is not at all clear that the article addresses one instance of mainstream culture subversion. Further, this vague definition along with it's attributes could be assigned to a vast portion of visual, literary, musical and political giants. Marcel Duchamp, the Dada-ists, even Jackson Pollock. Certainly Banksy's illicit and unauthorized hanging of art in a British museum would have to be the penultimate 'culture'jam'. I am sure Banksy would not call himself a 'culture-jammer' and would see the term's deception. Even Nancy Dwyer's clever corporate logo manipulations precede anything referred to herein. Duchamp's alteration of the Mona Lisa. Pop Art's re-examination (a mesmerizing combination of both celebration and indictment) of pop culture. Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty and Richard Serra's public arcs. I suppose all these artists are culture-jammers, yes?
The distinction made between 'culture-jamming' and public defacement is what really shows this argument to be fallacious. Public defacement is a political/social act period. It is not necessarily good or bad, whereas this article infers that defacement for defacement's sake is somehow low-brow and wrong. And if we are to buy the story, then we would have to praise "Kilroy was here' scrawlings across Europe during WWII as also 'culture-jamming'. We would need to praise Dondi White, Zephyr and Daze as the masters of the culture-jam. We should include Banksy as well. All this is said sarcastically.
This article is really about mind manipulation. We are supposed to accept these assertions as factual when the entire subject is pure conjecture and speculation. Most importantly it is a bastardization of history. Then again, we do this everyday with everything. So why should graffiti be immune to our machinations? M.P. Landau (talk) 15:08, 10 October 2014 (UTC)

@M.P. Landau: Sometimes it's hard to draw bright lines of history and distinction. What Wikipedia cares about is that "culture jamming" appears and is defined in a number of reliable publications sufficient to make itself notable as a concept (notability is kind of a technical term on Wikipedia). The existence of an article on Wikipedia doesn't mean it's absolutely unlike other things or that it's totally original -- just that it got the press coverage necessary, more or less. Regardless, the research and writing on culture jamming, given its necessarily political-artistic-popular nature, has led to the development of magazines, books, how-to guides, and of course art. While it's general methods of execution and fundamental aspects of its politics aren't new per se, other terms don't typically capture or focus on the pointedly anti-consumerism, anti-mass media culture nature of "culture jamming" or its self-consciousness and self-awareness in its strategies of using mass media and mass media's messages/images against itself. Did the stuff exist before the term was coined? Sure. But it's certainly an intelligible phenomenon sufficient to have a Wikipedia article. Perhaps you'd want to develop/add to the "Origins and preceding influences" or "criticism" sections, though? --— Rhododendrites talk \\ 15:47, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

@Rhododendrites: That is a fair enough statement. I understand the parameters of Wikipedia. But one must understand that Wikipedia is a venue unto itself today, and is used, or rather manipulated, for the betterment and/or personal gain to either themselves or others or both. The legitimacy of the thing is critical to it's allowance. 'Culture jamming' has indeed risen to a level where the thing itself is not necessarily authentic but claims of its authenticity are. And that is the critical distinction here. Take note that anyone involved in its promotion has a personal stake in it's legitimacy because all of them in one fashion or another tie their careers to it. It's manipulation and in fact propaganda by definition. So no, I am sorry but can not go along with your reasoning. There are two clear and separate subjects here; there is the matter of culture jam as a real and bonafide entity, but there is also the question of its claims of legitimacy, the motives behind it and who stands to benefit. I do not believe it has earned status thus far as "an intelligible phenomenon". In fact the opposite ; what I see is appropriation (in plain terms 'theft') and lack of originality. Let's remember, the proponents of 'culture jamming' call this a movement. A movement!. Please. (talk) 21:08, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

Ok, so keeping in mind core Wikipedia policies like notability, neutral point of view, and no original research what changes to the article would improve it? (The talk page is not for general talk about the subject but for talk about the subject in the context of improving the article). If you think it does not merit inclusion in Wikipedia at all, you might want to check out the deletion process, but I can't imagine there would be an angle that would get much traction. --— Rhododendrites talk \\ 23:36, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

Minor rewrite

After reading the discussions on the definition above (loved the story about Ms Mason '09), I've re-written the opening paragraphs of the article. I was mainly attempting to tighten things up a bit, and to remove some of what I thought were the more glaring NPOV violations. I also removed the section on types of culture jammers; although it was entertaining, it was biased, written in the wrong tone, and stolen entirely from another source.

I've removed the dispute tag, since it's clear that the incorrect passage is gone and nobody wants to put it back. I've left the citation tag there, because after all, I didn't add any citations either. fuddlemark (befuddle me!) 11:44, 28 May 2009 (UTC)

I don't feel a minor rewrite is enough. I'm a fairly well educated person, but I am having difficulty understanding what "culture jamming" is, from reading the first several hundred words. How much of the article do I have to read, in order to "get it"? --Uncle Ed (talk) 14:58, 22 February 2010 (UTC)

Jamming comes from The Prisoner?

Worth pointing out The Prisoner episode It's Your Funeral referred to jamming in a political context back in the mid 1960s. --MacRusgail (talk) 19:23, 2 November 2009 (UTC)

Those emotions are pretty grim. I wonder where that idea came from —Preceding unsigned comment added by Jago25 98 (talkcontribs) 09:20, 11 October 2010 (UTC)

Saying that it comes from there would be an extreme version of original research, which is not allowed here. Kansan (talk) 05:40, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Questionable political assumptions?

The introduction includes the sentence: "Many culture jams are simply aimed at exposing questionable political assumptions behind commercial culture so that people can momentarily consider the branded environment in which they live."

I am concerned that labeling the assumptions behind the consumerist status quo as "questionable" may not be neutral. I thought about changing it to something like "that are perceived to be questionable", but by that point, the sentence would be getting rather unwieldy. Thoughts? Kansan (talk) 05:39, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

File:Vorsprung durch Graffit - - 1670605.jpg Nominated for Deletion

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Fixed Now replaced by File:Vorsprung durch Graffit cropped.jpg. Source for original (uncropped) version linked to in the corresponding discussion, should it ever be appropriate in the future to use under WP:NFCC to illustrate a point detailed in the text (referred to in reliable sources). -- Trevj (talk) 13:04, 26 July 2012 (UTC)

NFUR copied from User:Trevj/Vorsprung durch Graffit, in case it's ever useful.
Non-free use rationale
Non-free media information and use rationale for Culture jamming

Vorsprung durch Graffit This ad for the Audi A5 Sportback, under the Barnwell Road railway bridge, has acquired a new slogan to replace the original "Think of it as a coupé with more doors".

Source taken by Keith Edkins


Culture jamming

Portion used

Cropped to remove surrounding brickwork, etc.

Low resolution?
Purpose of use

Depict practice described in text


The graffiti in the context of the larger board relies on the copyrighted design of the billboard advertisement. There is no free equivalent in this case.

Fair useFair use of copyrighted material in the context of Culture jamming//
-- Trevj (talk) 11:47, 9 August 2012 (UTC)

Vandalism with a euphemistically beautiful face

The interesting thing in this article is that it only cites the relation between “culture jamming” and plain VANDALISM with only one line of text. But many people knows that the relation goes much more deep…-- (talk) 09:27, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

Luther Vandross?

What's he doing in this list? Nothing in the linked article...someone's joke? 2fs (talk) 04:47, 10 January 2013 (UTC)


In my opinion the list should be split off from the rest of the article for content reasons. This list breaks the flow of the article, which can then refocus on the topic at hand. Incidentally, I believe the proper name should be "List of culture jamming organizations or and people." --Andrewaskew (talk) 06:56, 17 July 2013 (UTC)

 Done --Andrewaskew (talk) 05:07, 22 July 2013 (UTC)

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