Sunday , May 26 2024

Consuming Culture

We recently mentioned software that finds, chops and recombines parts of spoken word into odd pastiches. Now a Northeast Ohio contrarian has assembled a collection of TV and radio ads “remixed” to subvert their original message:

    The commercial’s banjo melody is instantly familiar, but the words are different. “Armour hot kids,” a children’s chorus chirps, “the kids dogs love to bite.” The mangled jingle is one of 33 tracks on “Free Speech for Sale,” an album of audio art that chews up actual television and radio commercials and spits out its creators’ distaste for commercial advertising.

    The album is not sold in stores. Its tracks and printable cover art can be downloaded from, a Web site that opens today.

    For the project, more than 30 audio artists captured speech and music samples from commercials, public service announcements, campaign ads and other promotional spots, then rearranged them into short sonic collages that often subvert the source material’s original message. On one track, snippets excised from ads for over-the-counter drugs were reassembled into a horrifying litany of side effects, concluding “one daily dose provides 24 hours of headache, diarrhea and abdominal pain.”

    The album was organized by Every Man, the online alias of Jay Kennedy, a 30-year-old computer systems administrator in Lakewood, Ohio, and a host of a weekly experimental show on a community radio station. Rather than overtly parodying advertisements he found most irksome, Mr. Kennedy said he decided to use them as the raw ingredients for creations that would be “far more palatable than something that’s shoving an ad message down your throat.” [NY Times]

Digital tools have made “subverting” easier than ever – too bad copyright laws haven’t followed suit.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: Twitter@amhaunted,, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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