It all began as some fun. We had just purchased a microwave oven, unpacked it and found a suitable place in our kitchen for it to sit.
A little oven, shiny and white, with the brand name emblazoned on the front in fancy blue writing. The brand was one of those names like a person might have; John or Harold or Marc or Willem, or Philippe.
I was tidying up when my wife came into the room and stuck some adhesive tape over the brand name. On the tape she had written in colourful letters "BOB". We had just de-branded our first household item.
Having a distaste for intrusive advertising and marketing, this de-branding appealed to me. Most Reality Crackers have read the now famous Supermarket essay by +ORC. Like many others I must pay homage to this essay for inspiring me to really think about the calculated way in which the world around us is constructed. It may appear haphazard, but often it is not.
Nobody asks for email spam in their inbox. Why should you accept spam in your house?
Have a look around your space. How many items do you see with a brand name smeared across it? Can you see any that have none? Maybe some furniture. Maybe some old or antique items but most modern electrical items will have advertising staring out at you. Constantly refreshing your conscious and sub-conscious. Whether you stare directly at it, or a cursory glance, or merely it is in your peripheral vision and you don't even think that it is there, it is re-enforcing your recognition and familiarity with that word or logo. It is junk mail of the mind!
It is a type of invasion. An infiltration into our homes and into our already bombarded attention spans. It is littering what the people at Adbusters call the 'mental environment'; our minds. And at the end of the day when you return home, back to your sanctuary, away from the billboards, and neon and piped music, there too, the advertising exists. In more subtle ways, but it's there. It has crept in. Hitched a ride straight into your home and you probably paid no attention to it at all. And perhaps it's subtlety makes it more persuasive, more effective. You might find it more acceptable. Succumb to it more easily.
Now I'm not pretending that de-branding your environment is going to fix all your troubles. You may have no problem with living in a commercial, messages jumping out at you from every direction. Some people don't. But if you are like me you may get a small pleasure from reversing these worms. It's a personal act of defiance and minor rebellion. Pushing back the invasion.
It's also a good topic of conversation when visitors come over. A good opportunity to tell them about Reality Cracking. A good test maybe, see if they come back once they find out you are socially unconventional!! ;)
We have found adhesive electrical tape is quite good for covering up brand names. It comes in a variety of colours and I use white on our kitchen appliances and black on the TV, VCR, HiFi, etc. For the most part you can't even notice it. It's quite un-obtrusive.
Of course you can also have a bit of fun and make some new names for your items. Using coloured markers to write on masking tape might be more your style.
We have a chrome/steel coloured refrigerator and I haven't really found a suitable tape for this. Let me know if you have any ideas.
Computer beige is another one which can be tricky. I use black tape on my monitor, it's more obvious but I have cut it into a small shape so it is slightly artistic. Better than 'Hitachi CM772' don't you think?
You can be as creative as you like. Spend as much or as little time as you want. It's the personal satisfaction that you will get when you walk into your room and glance at the TV called 'Tony' that will make it worth your while. You will get a little smile and feel good about the power you have over your environment. You are in control to reverse the items that make up your personal landscape.
I'd like to finish on a slightly different topic. A story I found about one person's personal rebellion. I wish I could remember where on the web I found this so I can properly credit the author but unfortunately my memory fails me. I'll relay the idea to you anyway.
This person wanted to protest against those who are constantly zapping their messages at us. His idea was to write a message back. A counter message that others could read. He wrote his short message on money and when he spent this money his protest was released.
Nobody would destroy his message. Who would destroy money? And think how far this rebellious act would travel? Further than a billboard on a bus. How many people would read it? How long would it circulate for?
In some places this is a federal offence. A criminal act. And this small crime made him feel like he was fighting back in some small way.
I don't believe it's always best to fight fire with fire. We need to be careful not to become the thing that we despise. But it is an interesting story none-the-less.
(c) Finn61, 2002
PS. It's about freedom in neural networks.
This essay may look to you rather dirty... but think again.
When you enter your toilet, and stand to piss there, what do you see? a calendar on the wall? a lovely view through the window? naah... Usualy you see the label of the manufacturer of the urinal or the toilet bowl. And you see and read that ten times every day... 3650 times per year..
if i'm awaken at midnight and asked what's 5 times 5, or what's the name of my cousin, may be i'll think a little, but if i'm asked who's the manufacturer of the toilet bowl and plastics there, i'll name it IMMEDIATELY! (KDN, i.e. Kombinat Domakinski N-something, it was in BG; now the new one is CAROMA)
When you go to brush your teeth (well, i hope you don't do it very frequently, and hope with very-small amount of toothpaste - they both destroy your teeth), or wash your hands, or dishes or whatever, what do you see? The label of the manifactuer of the sink... assume 5-6 times per day... 1800 times per year..
When your take a shower, are all the shampoos and soaps etc around
there on some shell? Let's make an exercise. Can you now remember
what is written there?
(well, i remember this: it's pink, some picture of woman's hair, and the words "selected" "helena" "No1" "cusshions" "active" "repeat the ... and then rinse thoroughly"... "gillette") Now go and check how many of them come from one thing... and where the rest come from.. In my case the 1st three are from my shampoo (i hate shampoos too:(, they make my hair worse day-by-day - as any detergent), 'cusshions' is from some soap that i NEVER use (where the hell it came from?) and "active" and the rest sentence is from another shampoo (not mine)... and "gillette" is the label of some razor that sits there since inmemorial ages...
once/twice per day x 10-15 words ... 3650-10000 words per year... Now i remember that every time, while i take a shower, i am Reading unconsouisly All the printed text on that shampoos...
Your car? how many labels of some SUPER SPECIAL SYSTEMs are there? Your video? Audio systems (e.g. digital extra analogous loopback super, i.e. DEALS?) ? Washing mashine? Computer? how many times per day you read that EPSON LQ-500 that stays on your desk? DTK-computer? 233MHz stupid display (instead of putting something useful, like a cheap digital clock, they put this lustrous shit...)
? How many times you have read that Headline of that old newspaper lying on the cabinet? And howmany times you tried NOT to look at the ad's that are there? ?
How many labels and ads are on your walls? well, i'm sure you did not put them there intentionaly, they came like 'extra' WITH something else - calendars, or paintings, or book shelf, whatever...
THE EYES of any human has extremely high bandwidth and about 120' degree visibility angle, but that is noncontrollable. Controllable angle is only around 35-45 degrees. All the rest is received, accepted, processed, and most of it REMEMBERED by the subconsiousness. Regardless if you want that or not.
Just sit down in your most famous chair/sofa and look around... and count. Hundreds of useless nagging labels... in YOUR home... they came withour asking you... they enetr your head without asking you... thousands and thousands times... I name this brainwashing. IN YOUR OWN HOME? By yourself?
Every label, every picture, every sign you pass by, or your look pass by, is processed. Not all of it is remembered, of course, but the most contrast/differring things are. Now look how many of the labels you have around are NOT loud and flashy... 1% or even less?
And all this bullshit is poured over your poor subconsiousness Every day... Yes, the conscious part of the mind trys its best to ignore it... but it is not omnipotent. And, then you may have headache. Or enter some shop and buy something WITHOUT any consious intention to do it... but realize that only some time LATER...
Do you catch my idea? We can't escape (easily) from the nagging billboards, newspapers, flashy webpages, etc... But WE CAN chase out the bastards from our own home - it is OUR fortress!
Some shampoos and other things has their labels simply
glued/sticked - remove them! Others look painted but are not -
they are printed on transparent film and that film is sticked over
the packing... Remove it!
Some nagging labels are just piece of plastic, glued to the computer/player/wheel/... Remove it!
Well, some labels are REALLY nasty. But they are even easier. Ha-hA. Take a single-colored (!) sticky tape, with a nearest possible color to te background color around the label you are going to eliminate, and PATCH IT! one patch - 3000 readings/labels per year/month/day less... of course, make it look GOOD and smooth - or your eyes will always focus immediately at it...
Or take some paint or some nail-polish and SPREAD IT OVER...
again, try to make the whole label INVISIBLE in terms of the surrounding background.
after reading a newspaper/magazine, Hide it! into some not easy visible place! or cover it with some sheet of paper...
Okay, i do not pretend i have destroyed all the labels around me - some of them simply look fine, and even beautiful, and i let them live... But the rest shall die... sooner or later. Yes, i'm writing this, i know it should be this way, but even i myself can't escape from the habbit... of being NOT PAID for reading advertisements...and NOT to complain for that. They (enslave)teached us to do that for free...
Example: some time ago, i entered some shop for some kind of
furniture, and almost choosed one piece, when i say some ugly
nagging label attached to it. I said to the sellperson - "i'll buy
it, if you remove this sign (well, i almost said 'crap' then;)
from here". He said - well, we should consult with the
manufacturer, we'll call you back. And, after couple of days, he
call me and said: okay, you could take that Without the label, and
it will cost you ... (which was 5% more).
you did not believe that?
your problem. some sunny day you'll get that experience yourself. Just try to not to play by thier rules...
P.S. Please don't take all this literally. Removing the labels from some pills or other medicals IS DANGEROUS. Please, ...simply THINK.