Monday, February 12, 2007

Evangelical culture jamming

So walking down Bridge Rd the other day, I saw this:

A couple of thoughts ran through my mind:

1) Were it not for the sticker, I never would have looked at the poster. To that extent, it was counter-productive.

2) It's probably the first time I've ever seen culture jamming from a right wing/social conservative angle. It's understandable, because culture jamming is inherently a counter-hegemonic form of communication - it's the voice of those expressing discontent with the people in power, who are traditionally the right.

But it makes me wonder if maybe, as social values grow progressively more liberal with each generation, we'll see more of it.

3) WTF? What was whoever pasted this sticker trying to communicate, and who were they trying to convince? If they were trying to convince the secular majority, they don't even get off the ground, because they're arguing from a first premise - the existence of of the Christian God - that said majority don't accept.

But if they're arguing to theists they don't get much further, because their contention (that Jesus Christ is the son of God) doesn't necessarily lead to the conclusion they presumably want you to take (euphemistically, God don't dig the Mardi Gras).

Couple that with the aggressive, serial killer-style dehumanisation of the guy in the poster by blocking out his face and you have a spectacularly dysfunctional communication that's more than likely to sway readers to the opposite point of view.

Why is this interesting to me? Because I wonder if anti-capitalist/left-wing/anti-war culture-jammers make the same error. They generally don't bother to make their case, tending to assume agreement and focusing instead on demonising their opponents - Bush, Coke, Blair, Maccas, Howard.

If you're sympathetic, it's easy to miss how alienating vitriol can be to those who aren't entirely onside.

There are few things less convincing than hysteria.

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