No rational person could possibly believe that there is any tension between ‘mainstream’ and “alternative’ culture”
This provocative quote comes from “Rebel sell, why the culture can’t be jammed”, a brilliant and thought provoking (but also pretty mocking) book by Joseph Heath and Andrew Potter. The culture-jammers (represented today by people like Naomi Klein) state that rebellion and disruptive behaviors endanger the capitalist system and mass society that encourages conformity. This has been the subject of very popular movies like American beauty, fight club or maybe even Wall-e. It’s also very present in advertising. Heath and Potter believe the exact opposite and that counter culture relies on a vision of society that is totally biased. Watch this interview
Unfortunately, there is nothing about web 2.0 in rebel sell (the book was released in 2005) and I would very much like to read their opinion about the participative web (there are a few lines about net neutrality)
Anyway, the book made me realize why Microsoft wasn’t (perceived as) cool: It’s not about quality of products, it’s only about counter culture values. Google and Apple are supposedly counter cultural, anti-system, dissent, rebel and “authentic” (as stated in Apple’s 1984 commercial) while Microsoft is supposedly a symbol of conformity and an agent of the system. Google achieved to be a culture-jammer through their battle for net neutrality and by their “do no evil” motto, Mac thanks to their disruptive/1984/think different marketing strategy.
But are they a menace to any system? I don’t think so.
What about us?*
* bloggers and other social media users