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They Live

A classic anti-consumerist, super cheesy sci-fi vid from 1988. Shepard Fairey used it as inspiration for his "Obey" poster work. This was a serious banger for skate-punks back in the early 90s. It's very dated now but still worth a look. If anything, the manipulation of our desires has only gotten worse. Takes about a minute and a half to get going, so stay with it.

44 comments on the article “They Live”

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Anonymous

This clip is brilliant. A bit cheesy, but brilliant. I wish it offered more of a denouement than it does. The only question I would pose is "what's next?" After we see through the catchy banners, snazzy billboards, and pretentious facades that flood our consumer obsessed culture in the land of Nod, what do we do after we wake up? It's a tricky thing when oppositional messages working to muddy the squeaky clean, brain-washed minds of consumers end up acting by similar means as the very things they're trying to debunk. The rhetoric of advertisements is, in this sense, seemingly inescapable. Thus, I pose the question of whether or not the novelty of "seeing through" these things can remain so if an entire culture shifts gears instead of a select few who choose to "wake-up." After all, the ability to battle consumerism is dependent upon the social context of 21st century consumerism and the cultural literacy of activists trying to battle such messages, who know a society exists in which people are susceptible to such messages in daily life. The ability to battle consumerism and consumerism itself are mutually constitutive. One cannot exist without the other. So what happens when the latter no longer exists?

Anonymous

This clip is brilliant. A bit cheesy, but brilliant. I wish it offered more of a denouement than it does. The only question I would pose is "what's next?" After we see through the catchy banners, snazzy billboards, and pretentious facades that flood our consumer obsessed culture in the land of Nod, what do we do after we wake up? It's a tricky thing when oppositional messages working to muddy the squeaky clean, brain-washed minds of consumers end up acting by similar means as the very things they're trying to debunk. The rhetoric of advertisements is, in this sense, seemingly inescapable. Thus, I pose the question of whether or not the novelty of "seeing through" these things can remain so if an entire culture shifts gears instead of a select few who choose to "wake-up." After all, the ability to battle consumerism is dependent upon the social context of 21st century consumerism and the cultural literacy of activists trying to battle such messages, who know a society exists in which people are susceptible to such messages in daily life. The ability to battle consumerism and consumerism itself are mutually constitutive. One cannot exist without the other. So what happens when the latter no longer exists?

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