, Princeton University Press, 1990.


Every society has to tell a story about happiness, about how individuals can satisfy themselves and feel both subjectively and objectively good.

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Where will such concern arise?...Contemporary industrial man, his appetite for the present whetted by the values of a high-consumption society and his attitude toward the future influenced by the prevailing canons of self- concern, has but a limited motivation to form such bonds.

In New York City, sponsors are being sought for public playgrounds.

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So central is consumption to its survival and growth that at the end of the 19th century industrial capitalism invented a unique new institution the advertising industry to ensure that the "immense accumulation of commodities" are converted back into a money form.

Indeed this is precisely how advertising talks to us.

High schools now sell the sides of their buses, the spaces of their hallways and the classroom time of their students to hawkers of candy bars, soft drinks and jeans.

It talks about our individual needs and desires.

call for rockets to deliver mile-wide mylar billboards to compete with the sun and the moon for the attention of the earth's population.

With advertising messages on everything from fruit on supermarket shelves, to urinals, and to literally the space beneath our feet (Bamboo lingerie conducted a spray-paint pavement campaign in Manhattan telling consumers that "from here it looks likes you could use some new underwear"), it should not be surprising that many commentators now identify the realm of culture as simply an adjunct to the system of production and consumption.

Indeed so overwhelming has the commercial colonization of our culture become that it has created its own problems for marketers who now worry about how to ensure that their individual message stands out from the "clutter" and the "noise" of this busy environment.

Individual action will not be enough.

For instance, almost the entire media system (television and print) has been developed as a delivery system for marketers its prime function is to produce audiences for sale to advertisers.

The flip side of the consumer spectacle...

In that sense the main competition for marketers is not simply other brands in their product type, but all the other advertisers who are competing for the attention of an increasingly cynical audience which is doing all it can to avoid ads.

is the starved and impoverished public sector.

Therefore even greater care and resources are poured into the creation of commercial messages --- much greater care than the surrounding editorial matter designed to capture the attention of the audience.