Friday, May 25, 2007

Open Source Resistance

When I saw this flyer I was intrigued by its obscurity. A Google search led to Open Source The stated purpose of the site is " attempt to start a grass-roots information militia, so ordinary people can fight to prevent a world where civil rights AND natural resources are both being strip-mined for the convenience of multinational corporations and People Who Know They Are Right."

I was reminded of Insta-Protest whose flyers I wrote about in March. Only the O.S.R. site is way slicker.

If you have a poster, movie, bumper sticker or any other piece of protest art, you can send it to the O.S.R. and, if it passes the one-man selection committee, it will appear on the site. The one man doesn't say who he is.

I looked at the art that made the cut and it is far more sophisticated than the Insta-Protest signs. This is protest by professionals.

Looking further I checked out a movie of an O.S.R. meeting that was raided by the cops. It starts with a militant looking guy addressing a crowd of hipsters, telling them to "wake up and give a shit" about what's going on politically.

It was during this segment that I noticed the quality of the video, multiple camera angles, seamless editing and clear sound. This was no amateur production. I grew suspicious of this "grass-roots" movement and I hoped that it wasn't going to end up being a sneaker commercial.

Turns out it's part of the guerrilla marketing campaign for the new Nine Inch Nails album. After the short speech, the kids are rewarded with a concert by Trent Reznor and his band. The show is supposedly raided by the cops, but it looks staged.

This whole thing feels like the skillful manipulation of a target demographic by a major corporation. (Nine Inch Nails is part of Universal Music Group.) It leaves me feeling a bit more cynical, and these days cynicism is the ally of the groups that Reznor and his Open Source Resistance purport to oppose.

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