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Deconstruct the Media/Part Two/What is Jamming

Instead of fucking ourselves over when we aim to fuck up/subvert the corporate media, we should think of new approaches to accomplish the same goal. Here's one suggestion. Take it or leave it. (Although I think you really out to take it.)
Deconstruct the Media/Part Two/What is Jamming
Deconstruct the Media/Part Two/What is Jamming
Take a look at the billboard above and then think about the slogan "Fuck the Corporate Media." Think about how much less effective the attack on this billboard would have been if the jammers had merely blacked out this guy's teeth, or if they had tried to destroy the sign, or if they had put a tarp over the sign.

Spitting and swearing and trying to cover their camera lenses is the same as trying to throw a tarp over a billboard. Be angry, but be creative too.

Here's my attempt at creativity:

Make a few signs that you want on camera, and then follow the reporters around the event. With a little cooperation you might be able to get ten friends to help out, each one of you holding the exact same sign up, hoping to end up in almost every shot the media people get.

The signs might say something lke "corporate media=propaganda machine" and the signs might include a webpage address where you've set up a list of articles and thoughts about the corporate media, the war, etc...

If you are asked by a reporter to say a few comments about why you come out for protests, answer by spouting out the webpage address you've created, and then try to explain why you think the corporate media is part of the problem. Hold up your sign. Make a hundred paper signs and pass them out to people at the next rally. Ask people to tape the signs to their chests and surround the cameras.

That's just one idea. I'd love to hear other people's creative ideas.

There has to be more than one alternative. Has to be a better way to disrupt the corporate media system than swearing and mooning and spitting. And there is no reason to keep using a tactic that's doing us harm instead of them.

homepage: homepage: http://www.douglaslain.com

better example of billboard jamming 22.Mar.2003 02:19


here's another, less subtle, example of billboard jamming.
better example of billboard jamming
better example of billboard jamming

reform vs. revolt 22.Mar.2003 02:29

not a liberal

look, douglas, i know you mean well, but you're taking the lame end of the old reform vs. revolt argument (that is, the reform side), and history has shown that reform doesn't work. do you like, vote for democrats or something, too?

Am I a radical? 22.Mar.2003 02:58

Douglas Lain

I consider myself to be an anarchist, although I'm definitely not part of the black mask set of anarchists. I'm 32, white, married, and I have three kids. When I was three I was bitten on the face by my pet dog Toto and had a bit of reconstructive plastic surgery done around my eye.

I was a Nader trader in the last election because I thought Bush was a Fascist but I couldn't stand Gore. When I was younger, back in 1992, I launched a campaign to run a fish for president and I voted for this fish. The fish's name was, and is, Dr. Philip B. Carp. I really think voting is crap, but I can't quite break myself of the habit.

None of the above information is relevant in the slightest bit. You shouldn't judge ideas based on the character of their source.

More to the point, I don't see how my suggestion about jamming the corporate media is the slightest bit reformist. Would you please explain to me, without posturing, what's radical about putting your hand over the lens of a camera, or mooning the camera? Explain why trying to block the corporate media with a critique of the corporate media is less radical than spitting.

jam jam jam 22.Mar.2003 04:09

Crosley Bendix

As awareness of the how the media environment we occupy affects and directs our inner life grows, some resist. The possibilities of adding pimples to the retouched photo of the face on the cover of America are only now being seen as 'artistic' territory. The cultural jammer works his secret in public: the skillfully reworked billboard with new lettering painted in the same style that the original has, turning strategic corporate elements back on themselves in a manner which is, itself, invisible, directs the public viewer to a consideration of the original corporate strategy... The studio for the cultural jammer is the world at large; his tools are paid for by others, in art with real risk... You can spot jam art easily--it always supersedes found content as it re-arranges it, causing you to reflect on the nature of what you are actually encountering.

Spitting image 22.Mar.2003 08:52


I keep hearing about "spitting on corporate cameras." I think I should tell you that I was there at the protests recently, and on the 20th, I saw a man whose camera said "Channel 8" walk up to a young woman and smear spit on her camera. He was upset because she had been non-violently blocking his camera when he tried to videotape people who asked him not to. Although she was respectful and never actually touched him or his camera, he first pushed her violently into the crowd, and then later walked up to her and smeared spit on the lens of her camera. This is outrageous behavior. No wonder some people are walking around with signs that say "fuck the corporate media." I never understood just how violent and actually dishonest the news media is until I began watching coverage of protests that I attened in the past three days. They have consistently misrepresented them.

i like the original poster's ideas 22.Mar.2003 10:11


right on; jamming is a great idea. i don't think that there's anything wrong with defacing corporate media, causing their costs to increase (like through damage to equipment), or making the job itself less prestigious or desirable (like, because there's a real and immediate chance of engendering hostility over one's choice to be a functionary of the state propaganda organ). however, i think that, as the mantra goes, a diversity of tactics is desirable, and jamming of the nature suggested by mr. lain seems to straddle a number of tense lines between use and abuse of the media, and i think that that's a very good thing.

as always, much respect to everyone who's out there doing what they sincerely believe is necessary to combat oppression and hate.