Adbusters’ leader Kalle Lasn receives a lengthy profile in the New York Times:
Kalle Lasn, the longtime editor of the anticonsumerist magazine Adbusters, did not invent the anger that has been feeding the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations across the United States.
But he did brand it.
Last summer, as uprisings shook the Middle East and much of the world economy struggled, Mr. Lasn and several colleagues at the small magazine felt the moment was ripe to tap simmering frustration on the American political left.
On July 13, he and his colleagues created a new hash tag on Twitter: #OCCUPYWALLSTREET. They made a poster showing a ballerina dancing on the back of the muscular sculptured bull near Wall Street in Manhattan.
For some people they were just words and images. For Mr. Lasn, they were tools to begin remodeling the “mental environment,” to create a new “meme,” the term coined by the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins for a kind of transcendent cultural message.
“There’s a number of ways to wage a meme war,” Mr. Lasn, whose name is pronounced KAL-luh LAS-en, said in an interview. “I believe that one of the most powerful things of all is aesthetics.”
Mr. Lasn, who helped found Adbusters in 1989, had spent much of his career skewering corporate America, creating “subvertising” campaigns like “Joe Chemo,” which deftly mocked the Joe Camel cigarette ads of the 1990s.
But the spread of the Occupy protests signals a substantial step up for the magazine and Mr. Lasn, who is 69. The protests, he hopes, will “somehow change the power balance and make the world into a much more grass-roots, bottom-up kind of a place rather than the top-down Wall Street mega-corporate-driven system we now have.”
“This,” he added, “is the kind of dream many Occupiers have.”…
[continues in the New York Times]