OVERRIDE

Ad Nauseam

A Survivor's Guide to American Consumer Culture

Edited by Carrie McLaren and Jason Torchinsky

Faber & Faber

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. The book questions, in the broadest sense, what happens to human beings when their brains are constantly assaulted by advertising and corporate messages. 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 an entertaining and eye-opening account of the many ways consumer culture continues to pervade and transform American life.


BOOK EXCERPTS

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1

How Advertising Works

The Evolution of Advertising

ADS ARE PREDATORY. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as some of my favorite cats are predatory. But ads are not only predatory, they’re mercenary: hired guns paid to hunt down our desires and bag them for dollars. Like any good predator, advertising evolves along with its prey. Ads in their primeval form merely needed to alert a potential buyer of what was being vended—a shoe or a dismembered pig, for instance. Just enough to get the idea across. As competition grew, so did the need to create demand; hence

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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
 
“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
 
“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, Consumerist.com

“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

“The book will appeal to readers with an ironic sense of humor or a general suspicion of consumerism as well as those who enjoy keeping track of popular culture.”—Elizabeth L. Winter, Georgia Institute of Technology, Library Journal Reviews

“Entertaining and informative … If you want to convince your dog to love your iPod, this is the book for you.”—Book Calendar Review

“Several pieces … delve into less familiar territory, and in these passages, the book’s themes garner real heft. … While I was reading it, and for a time after I was finished, I found myself questioning everything. … Ad Nauseum broke through the haze built up over years of media consumption.”—Carolyn Juris, Bookslut

Reviews from Goodreads

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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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Available Formats and Book Details

Ad Nauseam

A Survivor's Guide to American Consumer Culture

Edited by Carrie McLaren and Jason Torchinsky

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Faber & Faber

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