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April 27, 2001 at 10 AM

A Fool and His Money…Received

A Fool and His Money...


Received in my inbox last night was this gloating image from Adbusters’ latest campaign: Fools Festival.

Apparently not satisfied with criticizing corporate and advertising culture, the preachy but popular magazine has moved on to a new target: the witless, anonymous consumer. The magazine offered to refund $100 to anyone who would give (throw?) away that amount of money in a mall (or other such temple of consumer worship) and chronicle the results. The point? As far as I can tell, to allow Adbusters readers to feel smug and superior because cretinous members of Western society would actually bend over — sometimes eagerly! — to pick up money off the ground.

The web site copy offers this explanation: “The resulting pandemonium was a boon to the foolish at heart and proved that throwing money at the problem works — when the problem is conformity!”

Is one to suggest that Adbusters readers would spot a dollar on the ground and blithely stroll past? If so, this says more about the arrogance of the upper-middle class who can snicker over a mere dollar because they’ve never had to worry about one. What if we dropped a hundred dollars in the middle of a town in Congo? Wouldn’t it be a load of yuks when those greedy townspeople scrambled to pick up the loot?

There was one person who participated in this, uh, festival, who did something with some redeeming value. A San Franciscan affixed stickers to the cash asking people to “Think about buying less and giving more. Please give this to a homeless person outside.” Clever, without being demeaning, and it probably made some people think about the issues supposedly behind the whole exercise. Bonne idée.

Comments

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Previously: A real show-stopper over at

Subsequently: Linguistically Challenged: “We English-speaking peoples

April 2001
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