Tuesday, November 13, 2007

No Logo's Logo

Naomi Klein, author of No Logo, has come out with a new short film and book called "The Shock Doctrine." I would go so far to call it disturbing and well done post-modern propoganda.

While I comiserate with her point of view and some of the ideas she presents in No Logo, I think she goes too far. For example when I Googled the words "No Logo" I was given the option of buying the book at Target. She clearly is getting enough money to make these films, write these books and travel the world to see what is happening.

The Economist feels as if Klein "needs to grow up." It is not surprising that The Economist would disagree with Klein, but the article does make a few good points about her ideas. I would suggest reading it. But this pretty much sums up this kind of Luftmentsch ideology:
Certainly, Ms Klein is for justice, “deep” decentralised democracy ... autonomous spaces and diversity of every kind. All these things can presumably be reconciled with the ambitious goals she would doubtless wish to see pursued in welfare spending, environmental protection and income redistribution—aims which, on the face of it, call for a high degree of centralisation and some reduction in the amount of autonomous space—but readers and listeners are never told how this contradiction might be resolved.

I was one of these rebels back in the day. I marched on Al Gore's fundraising party in Santa Monica, I took part in rallies to fight Gap and the like, but there comes a point when you want to see the real change you are talking about materialize. (I choose that word intentionally)

Klein goes after Free Market policy when she really should go after greedy corporations. There is a huge difference between the Free Market, which most likely will never exist and the industrial giants that use governments to suppress the people into making "stuff" in factories. Milton Friedman said that no government intervention should ever be used in the economy. He too is a Luftmentsch; it is impossible for the government to stay completely out of the economy and Friedman knew that as well.

The idea that Klein puts forth is that right-wing and conservative people are out to get the little guy. Fair enough. The proof is in the pudding. However, creating major works of political art to prove something that everyone knows is a waste of good energy. While it seems pretty clear to me that major disasters are times when things go crazy and wars seems to be profitable to those who are in charge, what does this film or book try to do about it? Besides the PSA of "stay informed" that bookends the film, nothing is discussed as a real way to fight this issue.

Outside of all the rhetoric of evil Free Market Shock Treatment, Klein is using YouTube (owned by Google) and printing books (by Picador, a major imprint) that are sold in major retail outlets (see above with Target). She sells out speaking engagements and book tours. While her message may stay the same verbally, selling tickets, books and films (note she did release it online for free) does speak the to system she is fighting (capitalism) and changes the message symbolically. It may be name calling, however the critics like The Economist have a pretty good argument.

Naomi, a response?


DK said...

Corporate, governmental policies and their treatment of workers and the environment should be targeted. Complaining that there is a profit motive and corporate power alone is indeed a waste of everyone's time, and quite frankly, for those who are too lazy to pinpoint policy or specific misdeeds.

Anonymous said...

Klein has too much of an indie/hipster thing woven into her message for it to resonate with anyone outside a fairly small built-in audience. I sympathize with her sometimes but when, as in No Logo, she bitches about the yuppies moving into neighborhood and making her hip loft less hip, I have trouble caring.

--Dave, http://parallelsidewalk.wordpress.com