I am currently reading "No Logo" by Naomi
Klein. Enjoying it thoroughly, despite occasional lapses (on Klein's
part) into a brutish pessimism. For those who haven't read it, the
book deals with ideas of commercial branding, and the rise at the
end of the last century of certain "lifestyle" corporations.
Klein deals with the issues of incorporation raised when lifestyles
we think we create are sold back to us as the "authentic"
The book itself is an item of interest. I've not finished
reading the book, but already there are ideas that strike me as
Firstly, the book is published by Flamingo
in the UK, an imprint of HarperCollins,
itself a subsidiary of News
Corporation. In the opening chapters Klein talks about the way
large companies, such as Coca Cola Schweppes and Levis Strauss,
either bought or created smaller companies and brands that worked
or gave the impression of being independent from the larger corporate
will. While I'm all for self serving hypocrisy, we should remember
that what we are being sold as an independent viewpoint is never
isolated, and that our mediators haven't changed much in the past
Secondly, while containing a copyright message, Klein
also includes the following statement: Naoimi Klein asserts
the moral right to be identified as the author of this work
In my opinion this signifies a few things. Klein has a postmodern
viewpoint. Often she suggests the commandeering of corporate identities
and tactics, in much the same way that those corporations and companies
assimilate the other cultural items dropped in their paths. However,
while copyright has a judicial emphasis, her choice to apply a moral
argument as well suggests that she feels that there are stronger
systems which humans apply to themselves than those enforced by
a judiciary or government. I am sure that Homer applied his moral
right to be recognised as the author of "The Odyssey"
before twentieth century translators claimed copyright. This is
something that the publishing houses, the major recording labels
and the big brand websites can not assert in the same way as an
individual or group of people. The book's contents, the important
bit, is what Klein is branding.
When we talk about brands today, we are now talking
about ownership of our choices in commercial fields. I know I'll
go into a sports shop and try on one of the major brands rather
than a cheaper company's offering because I'm familiar with their
iconography, advertising and quality. Despite the fact that I hand
over money to take ownership of the shoes, the trainers are still
branded with the previous owners mark, three stripes or a swoosh,
a tree or a truck.
And if anybody says they are not influenced by "advertising",
they are lying. I'm all up for proving it at the moment too... yes,
a good book.