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Posts tagged Michael Tchong

Co-optation of Liberation Movement Rhetoric by Marketing Hacks

Oh my God, a Salon.com columnist has actually said something intelligent. Mad props to Andrew Leonard for, well, making the exact same point I was making: the kitschy appropriation of rhetoric and images from liberation movements, by foundering Internet corporations, is both outrageous and pathetic. As Leonard says (emphasis added), the Internet can have many benefits for democratic interactions between people,

But Napster, the company, is not about promoting democracy. Napster is about making a buck, or, to be precise, a whole lot of bucks, by exploiting a new distribution paradigm. The company’s use of ’60s rhetoric — such as its plan to hold a teach-in on April 2 to educate people on why it should be allowed to stay in operation — in the service of its commercial interests is repugnant and crass. And our personal right to be able to get stuff for free online? Come on, people. We’re not talking about stopping bombs falling in Vietnam, are we?

As a side note, it turns out that the Napster march will be on April 3–which happens also to be Michael Tchong’s self-declared Take Back the Net day. As it turns out, I’m not the only one that noticed the incredibly offensive appropriation of the name of Take Back the Night, one of the world’s oldest and most powerful marches against sexual violence. Tchong has quietly changed the name of his campaign to Back the Net Day. I hope he got to read some really nasty hate mail first.

All Power to the Marketers

By the way, the most outrageous thing about the original self-indulgent marketing crusade is the way they are cynically exploiting the name of Take Back the Night, the world’s oldest and most powerful women’s demonstration against sexual violence. Not to mention the kitschy, self-conscious appropriation of jargon and logos from women’s liberation and other liberation movements to hawk their marketing wares, which sometimes gets so absurd as to defy parody:

As Netizens, we hold certain truths to be self-evident: that the Internet was created and endowed by its Creator with certain unalienable Rights, chief among these: free Access to uncensored Content, the ability to Shop wherever and whenever one chooses and the general pursuit of e-Happiness.

First Revolution became an e-business trade magazine; now we are taking back the Net. And who is we?


A: An Internet media publisher based in San Francisco best known for its weekly ICONOCAST e-marketing newsletter read by 50,000 senior-level marketing executives.

Q: Who is Michael Tchong?

A: Editor and founder of ICONOCAST, Michael is a well-known commentator on Internet marketing and advertising, with more than 20 years of advertising, publishing and software development experience. He is also the founder of MacWEEK magazine.

Oh yeah. All power to the people.

Reclaiming the Internet from Marketing Zombies

In response to Michael Tchong’s call for Netizens (what a god-awful word) to boycott offline business and use e-commerce sites on April 3, Ravenous Plankton has called for a Counter-Crusade with April 1 as Take Back the Net Day. Unfortunately, one of the requests is to do something worthwhile online. But never fear, gentle reader; I will not allow this requirement to stop me from publishing my usual blog entries!

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