Ad Nauseam A Survivor's Guide To American Consumer Culture Edited by Carrie Mclaren and Jason Torchinsky
This book is a compilation of essays from the magazine Stay Free. These essays are critiques of American consumer cultue. They focus on various subjects in advertising covering such topics as the history of medical quackery in advertising, corporate culture, advertising techniques, and other anti-consumerist topics. Many of the essays are quite funny. There is a mix of history, criticism, surveys, interviews, photographs, and pranks.
There is quite a bit on how advertising effects our daily lives. For example the reason we cannot get free glasses of water at restaurants without asking is because of the recent trend selling bottled water. Also, advertising has moved into our schools with pictures of candy in our textbooks and jury selection being effected by television shows like Miami Vice and L.A. Law.
The book is helpful if you want to immunize yourself from impulse buying. The advertising tactics of raw emotional appeal, pictures instead of words, and convincing people consumption is automatically good are critiqued. We learn how advertisers created an emphasis halitosis and dry skin as well as many other modern maladies.
The best thing about this book is the humor. There is a very funny article on the history of "Subliminal Seduction" debunking it. The article makes reference to the book, The Clam Bake Orgy by Wilson Brian Key one of the silliest books I have ever read.
There are black and white pictures throughout the book. Some of the better ones are the Marlboro baby and a tattoo of the Nikes logo on a persons ankle. In addition to pictures there are quizzes at the end of some chapters.
This was an entertaining and informative book to read. It might turn off some people with its anti-suv, prank lovng, privacy oriented, remove all ads from school political correctness, but if you want to convince your dog to love your ipod this is the book for you.