Synopses & Reviews
The 1980s and 1990s have seen an enormous increase in the power of business over the American mind. Not since the Gilded Age have the robber barons of business accumulated more wealth or won more popular attention. But where the tycoons of yore built railroads or banks, today culture stands at the heart of American enterprise and mass entertainment has become its economic dynamo. For a decade The Baffler magazine has been an invigorating voice of dissent against these developments, in the tradition of the muckrakers and H. L. Mencken's The American Mercury. Commodity Your Dissent gathers together the best of its excoriating criticism of the new American cultural order, exploring such peculiar developments as the birth of the rebel consumer as hero in the pages of Wired and Details; the dramatic rise of "alternative" culture in the post-Nirvana era; the appearance of new business gurus like Tom Peters and corporate fads like "reengineering"; the ever-accelerating race to market youth culture; and the encroachment of advertising and commercial enterprise into every last nook and cranny of American life.
In the "old" Gilded Age, the barons of business accumulated vast wealth and influence from their railroads, steel mills, and banks. But today it is culture that stands at the heart of the American enterprise, mass entertainment the economic dynamo that brings the public into the consuming fold and consolidates the power of business over the American mind. For a decade has been the invigorating voice of dissent against these developments, in the grand tradition of the muckrakers and The American Mercury. This collection gathers the best of its writing to explore such peculiar developments as the birth of the rebel hero as consumer in the pages of and ; the ever-accelerating race to market youth culture; the rise of new business gurus like Tom Peters and the fad for Hobbesian corporate "reengineering"; and the encroachment of advertising and commercial enterprise into every last nook and cranny of American life. With its liberating attitude and cant-free intelligence, this book is a powerful polemic against the designs of the culture business on us all.
From the pages of , the most vital and perceptive new magazine of the nineties, sharp, satirical broadsides against the Culture Trust.
About the Author
Thomas Frank is the author of One Market Under God and The Conquest of Cool.
Table of Contents
H.M.S. Baffler / Lewis Lapham -- Opening salvo : the new gilded age / Thomas Frank -- Why Johnny can't dissent / Thomas Frank -- The Killer App : wired magazine, voice of the corporate revolution / Keith White -- Back in black : here come the beatniks! / Maura Mahoney -- Burn down the House of Commons in your brand new shoes / Keith White -- Consolidated Deviance, Inc. / Thomas Frank and Dave Mulcahey -- Apostles of the new entrepreneur : business books and the management crisis / Bill Boisvert -- I've seen the future, and it's a Sony! / Stephen Duncombe -- The time-management Gospel / Jennifer Brostrom -- Leadership and you / Dave Mulcahey -- The advertised life / Tom Vanderbilt -- Alternative to what? / Thomas Frank -- What is alternative? / Chris Holmes -- The problem with music / Steve Albini -- The packaging of a literary persona / Maura Mahoney -- A dream of perfect reception : the movies of Quentin Tarantino / Gary Groth -- Twenty-nothing / Thomas Frank and Keith White -- Harsh realm, Mr. sulzberger / Thomas Frank -- Twentieth Century lite / Thomas Frank -- Post-urban, post-industrial but never post-elite / Edward Castleton -- Revolt of the Nice : edge city, capital of the twenty-first century / Tom Vanderbilt -- Lotteryville, USA / Kim Phillips -- The gaudy and damned / Tom Vanderbilt -- clsoing salvo : Dark Age / Thomas Frank.