A few Saturdays ago, the Toronto Star ran an article on whether or not No Logo remains relevant. The article dwelled on the anti-globalization movement of the early nineties, the ascent of which is often misattributed to the book, and liberal misinterpretations of the book and Klein’s thesis, rather than considering what the book is actually about — the branding of everything.
In particular, the book frequently returns to Michael Jordan as the prototypical branded human/human brand —an individual who is both adorned and associated with brands, and who is themselves a brand. Michael Jordan is history, and Tiger Woods is now the sportsman of measure.
I don’t recall Klein entering into a discussion of it, but this branded-brand success brings with it serious ontological implications. In abstract, a brand is little more than a symbol imbued with some fabricated meaning, and this meaning is associated to an otherwise ordinary, meaningless, product. For instance, as Klein goes on in the first few pages of the book, the Quaker Oats man gives plain old rolled oats a certain pastoral sentiment. Culture jammers can do what they wish to this image to harm it, but the Quaker Oats man does not need to worry about harming his “image,” because “he” is just a symbol.
The branded-brand human is not so fortunate, because they are both privately volitional and publicly symbolic. The branded-brand human cannot totally maintain a division between their individual self and the symbol that they have become/been styled into, and must struggle to stay autonomous whilst upholding the integrity of the brands that are affixed upon their brand, as well as their own brand. When the volitional human of the symbol “screws up,” all associated brands take a hit. In the end, the human element of the branded-brand human creation becomes subservient to the brands involved.
When hack journalists report on whether or not golf and Nike will suffer because Tiger had to get his woodsie, they’re talking about the idea of the branded human. So yes, No Logo is still relevant and liberals are always going to hate.
So I had to do a oral presentation for my technical writing class this evening. I put on my old lucky suit. The one I used to wear when I really wanted to make a big sale. And I was nervous— I needed to get a few things ready before class and I wanted to look good and professional and adult.
JubeJubes was waiting by the door, already ready to go. He needed to get to work and I was holding him up. I knew that. But I was just was trying to calm myself and figure out which earrings made me look most like a leader, like I knew what I was doing. I figured his patience was wearing thin.
I hear him searching in the closet, and then playing with our tape gun. Who knows what he’s up to now, I think. As long as he keeps himself busy for just a bit longer.
And then he comes around the corner and he starts to touch my lower leg. Not quite what I need right now, but maybe later?
But then I realized, he is de-lint-ing the back of my pants with the tape. I hadn’t even though I needed that. He just did it, solving problems I didn’t even know I had. Calming me down, making me better.
I’m really liking this marriage thing.
This is how I feel about art and religion as well. Even the illuminations of science seem to cast some giant, amazing shadows.