I hate to admit it, but Sell Out has thus far been the most controversial, provocative show I’ve seen. I hate to admit it because the show itself doesn’t have all that much to it, it’s pretty much micro waved Power Seller, which isn’t bad in and of itself, it’s simple, humorous, light hearted fare, but with subject matter this serious, the evangelical, all-positive approach leaves out what I consider to be the most important aspect of selling out: that you lose something.
Now, this shouldn’t be a critique of the author (right?). I should stick to reviewing just the work (right??). I dunno. I guess I have to preface this a bit: I come from the peace punk mentality. I have a prison style Crass* tattoo on my arm (and I still love it). My definition involves the golden rule and not hurting people for a living, and the epitome of that is major advertising. Especially for Nike. (I am aware that the tattoo is a form of advertising – of beliefs – see, I’m making it all complex and stuff).
It bothers me to hear people, and artists especially, say “Thanks Nike, thanks W+K,” without any acknowledgement that their also saying “thanks for making people without pretty things feel like shit, thanks for making pre-pubescent girls hate their bodies, thanks for sweat shops.” It’s real. It’s really shitty, and it’s really real. And we go watch Las Chicas del 3.5 floppies and say “!Que terrible!” and then thank W+K again. You feel me? At all?
I swear I’m not trying to be holier than though. I’m really trying not to be. I’m not trying to personally attack people, including AC. AC, I’ll buy you a drink. No wait, you’re the sell out, you buy me a drink. Anyway, this is my personal definition, and I’m not about to put it on anybody. This is what it would mean for me to sell out, not anyone else. This is my line, your line is yours, and Andrew’s is Andrew’s. So what’s the point you ask?
Because as much as I don’t know Andrew, I don’t think we’re that different. And if I’m wrong, let me know, I take it all back. But I think AC does care about sweatshops, and girls hating their bodies, and being low and coercive. And that’s what I found lacking in “sell out” and that’s what I want to hear about. Great, you’ve got cash and healthcare, so do a lot of people. Miserable people. Does AC worry about that? Does AC worry about what he’ll tell his future children about conviction, what does he think about going from a reader of Adbusters to a target? I want to know what his wife thinks about it. And I’m not judging here, I swear, I really want to know. I think this is an important aspect of selling out, and I want to hear it from AC, because I hope I never find out for myself.
*One word, “Thatchergate” – google it, love it, and go buy “Best Before”
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By abe