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Book Review - Unmarketable

If you eschew Target to make your own clothes, buy from your local grocery & prefer Bust to Cosmo, would you take $2,000 from Ford to help spread the word about their new electric car? That's the main premise to Unmarketable: Brandalism, Copyfighting, Mocketing and the Erosion of Integrity [WCF, Powells, Amazon] by Anne Elizabeth Moore, but this is not just a book for the DIY/punk crowds. By giving us case studies on how easily some fairly indy people sell out, including the author, it forces those of us, like me, who don't claim an indy or DIY label to consider "How much is my work worth?", "When was the last time I sold out?" and "Do I even care?"

Moore contends that we all should care. Not so we don't sell out, but to be honest and acknowledge when we exchange our skills for corporate cash to sell our peers on the latest gadget.
As marketing strives to burrow deeper into our social networks and bypass our reason entirely, our ability to locate and uphold personal integrity - factors that must precede a demand for democracy - is being challenged.

In a world where most people, liberal to conservative, question the honesty of corporate media, we rely on the opinions of our peers even more. Yet we also believe that we are savvy enough to know when someone is selling something to us. Would you had considered dropping Comcast for DirectTV if your friend hadn't told you how fab it was and oh, by the way, you'll both get $50 after three months?

It is this power that Moore also explores. Some take money because we think we're pulling a fast one over on The Man. Earlier this year I accepted an invite to give away coupons for Boca Burgers. My first thought was that those coupons for a free box would just benefit my friends who would come, comment, and wa-la, I've fed a few friends. It wasn't until a few days after I posted that I realized I was had. I had just advertised for Boca Burgers on my blog and emails that I had sent to friends alerting them of my contest.

Under capitalism, power comes not from having a voice but by being recognized as a market; clearly there is a market even for shoddy imitations of independent culture.

While this blog doesn't generate enough traffic to warrant ads, I do get pitched products and books. I won't stop accepting offers, but I will be more conscious of the choices I make AND be more open with you about how I came about blogging about chicken sausages.

I think everyone should read this book, especially bloggers because we do have a certain power & platform whether our soapboxes are Dooce big or Viva La Feminista small. And lastly as Moore says, "Note to self: If you're going to sell out again, try to hold out for minimum wage."

Disclaimer: I received no payment for this review as I bought this book myself.

Technorati tags: book review, Unmarketable, Anne Elizabeth Moore


SassyCupcakes said…
That sounds really interesting. And it's a great informative review too, even if you didn't get paid for it.

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