Ad Nauseam A Survivor's Guide to American Consumer Culture

Edited by Carrie McLaren and Jason Torchinsky

Faber & Faber

0865479879

9780865479876

Trade Paperback

368 Pages

$19.00

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What happens to human beings when their brains are constantly assaulted by advertising and corporate messages? With the style and irreverence of Vice magazine and the critique of the corporatocracy that made Naomi Klein’s No Logo a global hit, the cult magazine Stay Free!—long considered the Adbusters of the United States—is finally offering a compendium of new and previously published material on the impact of consumer culture on our lives. Most people assert that advertising is easily ignored and doesn’t have any effect on them or their decision making, but Ad Nauseam shows that consumer pop culture does take its toll.

In an engaging, accessible, and graphically appealing style, Carrie McLaren and Jason Torchinsky (as well as contributors such as David Cross, The Onion’s Joe Garden, The New York Times’s Julie Scelfo, and others) discuss everything from why the TV program CSI affects jury selection, to the methods by which market researchers stalk shoppers, to how advertising strategy is like dog training. The result is a humorous and thought-provoking account of the many ways consumer culture continues to pervade and transform American life.

REVIEWS

Praise for Ad Nauseam

“In his opening salvo in the mental war against the paradoxes of late capitalism, George W. S. Trow proposed a motto: ‘Wounded by the Million; Healed—One by One.’ What the editors of Stay Free! set up inside the brilliant framework of their magazine is an arena where writers can roll up their sleeves and get cheerfully to work at shrugging off the succubus of commercial culture—for their own sakes, and for all our sakes. This book is a treasury of Trow’s kind of healing.”—Jonathan Lethem, author of The Fortress of Solitude

“As a longtime critic of advertising and a great fan of Carrie McLaren's and of Stay Free!, I welcome this collection of smart and sassy, illuminating and entertaining essays. This book is a must for anyone concerned about the increasingly pervasive and pernicious impact of the consumer culture on our lives and our world.”—Jean Kilbourne, creator of the "Killing Us Softly: Advertising's Image of Women" film series

“Equal parts damning and delightful, Ad Nauseam is a guide for every shell-shocked consumer besieged by American commodity culture, a battleground where the greatest danger is thinking you're smarter than an ad.”—Ben Popken, The Consumerist

“There’s no better way for you to avoid the pitfalls of our sinister consumer culture than by buying this book. Purchase it now. And make sure to browse the store’s wide selection of novelty bookmarks.”—Patton Oswalt, actor and comedian

"Ad Nauseum, edited by Carrie McLauren and Jason Tochinsky takes an intelligent look at the way advertising has created a society which, at this point, is in big trouble because we've all been buying too many things on credit. The average American sees approximately 3,000 ads every day and they shape how our community, friendships, and family are defined and perceived. These days a lot of ads are intended to determine public policy on some very complex topics, but advertising is so ubiquitous and so much a part of our lives that we tend not to be aware of its influence. This book will make you think. That's something advertising doesn't really ask you to do."—Book Views

"More than 40 catchy essays expose how consumer culture gets embedded in everything, from TV's CSI to medicine, and suggests ways to respond . . . The book concludes with a list of books, websites and organizations for those who want more info. McLaren likens the process of noticing ads to goldfish becoming aware of the water around them. 'Knowing [how it works] allows people to step out of the media world, even if it's not a physical one,' she says. 'And make a mental shift.'"—Kirkus Reviews

Reviews from Goodreads

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BOOK EXCERPTS

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Carrie McLaren founded Stay Free! in 1993. A longtime blogger, she speaks regularly on the topic of advertising and media. Jason Torchinsky is a writer and illustrator based in Los Angeles, who currently writes for the Onion News Network.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Edited by Carrie McLaren and Jason Torchinsky

  • Carrie McLaren founded Stay Free! in 1993. A longtime blogger, she speaks regularly on the topic of advertising and media. Jason Torchinsky is a writer and illustrator based in Los Angeles, who currently writes for the Onion News Network.

  • Carrie McLaren © Charles Star
  • Jason Torchinsky © Sally Myers
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