March 27, 2002 10:10 AM   Subscribe

Sleep. "With pop culture so willingly providing countless numbers of prepackaged lifestyles, people no longer feel a need to truly think for themselves and do not bother to take the time to question the true origin of their own ideals and desires. Nothing can be taken for face value. Everything that portrays itself as one thing, turns out to be something else. Enter Slumber Inc."

An Atlanta-based culture-meme, more akin to Obey than Toynbee. But really, aside from drawing the occasional amused or confused glance from passersby, can pasting a poster actually accomplish anything revolutionary?
posted by grabbingsand (17 comments total)
sure it can! Just ask Rowdy Roddy Piper about what he went through in "They Live."
posted by ph00dz at 10:18 AM on March 27, 2002

ph00dz-thank's for that mention of Roddy Piper and They Live. Best. Acting by a Wrestler. Ever.

I remember that flick was based on a short story. i've tried to track it down, but I can't remember the title or author. IMDB comes up empty, as well.
posted by jonmc at 10:25 AM on March 27, 2002

dang. thread-jacked by roddy piper.

of course, now i am supposed to say:
"i came here to kick ass and chew gum...
and i'm all outta gum."

posted by grabbingsand at 10:30 AM on March 27, 2002

Okay, I'll talk about the post, and not Rowdy Roddy. Here goes: There are several goals or purposes of the Slumber Inc. campaign. One, is to get people to start thinking for themselves and make them aware of the many misleading and disguised outside voices that constantly try to impress false ideals of fulfillment and happiness upon them.
These Sleep goons are no different than a thousand other groups of young people over the past 100 years who have vague feelings of superiority and too much time on their hands. They believe that they have been given the divine wisdom to perceive that everybody but themselves is deluded and everybody is just too stupid to know that they are being manipulated. SLEEP claims that they want to "get people to start thinking for themselves," but really, they want people to start thinking like SLEEP. It never occurs to them that people are already thinking for themselves, and that having the freedom to think for themselves, this (our culture) is what they choose to think. People aren't stupid. Sometimes they allow themselves to be manipulated. Sometimes they don't. Hey SLEEP, it's not so bad out there, really.
posted by Faze at 11:18 AM on March 27, 2002

I'm with you Faze. From the FAQ:

What I meant was that there seem to be a large number of people who go through life completely oblivious to what the essence of 'real life' really is.

What I find amusing is that, as with Adbusters, the only people who know/care about these sorts of projects tend to be people in the advertising community. And as a sidenote, The Matrix is a movie. No matter how much you really want it to be true, it's not. Thank you.
posted by haqspan at 11:52 AM on March 27, 2002

I liked the site. There are certainly worse goals than trying to get people to think outside the box but it could use some balance.
In reply to the question, I doubt its going to accomplish anything revolutionary but I credit them for giving it a shot.
posted by keithl at 1:10 PM on March 27, 2002

you can't be purposely vague (i.e., print a poster of a monkey that says "sleep" on it) and expect the masses to "get the point."

unless, of course, you are shepard fairey, in which case the whole point is that there is no point at all.
posted by afx114 at 1:46 PM on March 27, 2002

I wonder how many groups there are, right now, on earth, that use the fromula " .... there seem to be a large number of people who go through life {insert your cause here} ...".

What groups like this seem to completely miss is the profound irony of trying to get people to stop listening to "outside voices" selling them false ideals of happiness and fulfillment by overtly trying to impress yet another "outside voice" that attempts to persuade them of yet another road to "happiness and fulfillment"

Priceless. Just priceless.
posted by MidasMulligan at 3:10 PM on March 27, 2002

I'm not saying that SLEEP isn't pretentious hooha, no less so than Randroids who use the term "sheeple". But Midas, you completely don't understand the concept of art or thought-provoking- not that anyone's surprised.

There IS a difference between A) offering the promised land through cosmetics and cola, and B) challenging people to ask themselves "Are cosmetics and cola really the promised land of happiness and contentment you are seeking?"- one is far more "meta" than the other. Only someone who's so enmeshed in a consumerist mindset could confuse this with just another "brand"- someone who thinks everything is a brand, something to sell, and that anyone who then questions the very fundamental concept of non-stop branding and selling must themselves be branding and selling the anti-branding, anti-selling niche.

Actually... your inability to recognize this distinction reminds me of something the great Bill Hicks said:
"By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing, kill yourself. No, this is not a joke: kill yourself . . . I know what the marketing people are thinking now too: 'Oh. He's going for that anti-marketing dollar. That's a good market.' Oh man, I am not doing that, you fucking evil scumbags."
posted by hincandenza at 3:21 PM on March 27, 2002

I'm not saying that SLEEP isn't pretentious hooha, no less so than Randroids who use the term "sheeple". But Midas, you completely don't understand the concept of art or thought-provoking- not that anyone's surprised.

Oh goody. A personal attack (not that anybody's surprised). And by the way - simply looking at your post, it appears as though perhaps I understand "thought-provoking" perhaps a bit better than you are comfortable with.

Every cause thinks it's not just another cause. Every brand thinks it's not just another brand. Only someone who's so enmeshed in ideology could fail to see the deep irony of that group, and elevate meaningless little distinctions into huge philosophical points.

Just as a for instance, did it ever occur to you to look at why the cosmetics industry is so huge? At why people seem to eat it up? Care to actually think if it leads to conclusions different than yours? Since the Cambrian explosion 300 million years ago or so, a massive number of different lifeforms have walked for various periods on earth. Over the millions of years during which the 100 or so original phyla were reduced to the current 40 or so, immense numbers of strategies were biologically tried and tested. One particularly powerful one is adornment. From the peacock's feathers to the scent and color of flowers, every kingdom of life - plant, animal and human - has explored evolutionary landscapes in part by using visual or olfactory expressions to signal fitness to mates, and a variety of things to competitors.

Can you understand this at all? Nature loves adornment. A tiny piece of that evolutionary force expresses itself in modern civilization as cosmetics and perfumes - but the force behind that, and the true pleasure people are almost biologically encoded to get from adorning themselves is far more powerful than the modern cosmetics and advertising industry ... which are nothing more than small current expressions of something that existed before humans themselves did.

Of course, what you - and those like that group - want to think is that people are asleep. Implicit in your comments is the assumption that anything who actually thinks creatively must come to the conclusions that consumerism is utterly superficial, and any sense of pleasure or fulfillment one gets would naturally dissolve once it was really questioned. In short, people either think like you, or they are mindless, sleeping idiots.

Nope - I love the vast diversity of nature. I love the wilderness - the immensely creative palette nature paints with, the huge variety of colors and smells plants and animals have evolved. I love human men and women that also experiment endlessly - adorning their bodies, and even experimenting with using their personas as artistic mediums. And I see everything mentioned in this paragraph as expressions of a single essence.

If you want to take all of this wonderful richness as sit in corner in a petty little snit, whine about how stupid and unthinking "the masses" are, claim that any joy and pleasure they get from participating in nature's pagentry is somehow superficial or illegitmate - and only there because they are so shallow ... go for it. You're soooooo deep. Maybe during an odd, disquieting moment it may occur to you that there's other reasons why you and groups like SLEEP are mostly dismissed as depressing little twits that won't alter one iota of behaviour in our species - but it makes little difference. You can sit in your little self-righteous funk in whatever non-consumer rags you want to wear, and try to preach to me and others about our inability to make "distinctions" that are apparently important in your closed little world - but most of America, and most of nature itself - probably isn't going to care.

Myself, I have an anniversary coming up, and I'm going out tomorrow to buy my wife a string of pearls and a bottle of Clive Christian Limited Edition perfume. And despite the fact that she's probably forgotten more philosophy than you'll ever read, she'll take great pleasure those slight enhancements of the adornments nature has already given her, and I'll love seeing the look of pleasure on her face.
posted by MidasMulligan at 5:15 PM on March 27, 2002

SLEEP responds to this thread here. Take it as you will.
posted by Dean King at 6:53 PM on March 27, 2002

dean king - this and things like the Joseph Sabia hoo-haa are proving that, collectively, the folks here mean something to the internet community at large. This is what this whole "online thing" is all about!
As the great allaboutgeorge said:

"MeFi clan ain't nothin' to fuck with."
posted by jonmc at 7:54 PM on March 27, 2002

sucka MCs best be on the lookout...
posted by lotsofno at 8:37 PM on March 27, 2002

Sure you stop noticing it after a while, but when the refrigerator breaks you suddenly can't sleep, think it's too quiet where you live, etc. and you realize how much that buzz really shaped your percetion of the world. Our culture is no different except that it affects how you percieve your self as well as you surrondings.

Read, think, and analyze a little deeper and little longer and you'll find the rebuttal's to all of your "comments" on your own.

Damn ... Thanks for that Dean. That is a riot. Apparently MeFi is playing the same role for SLEEP as SLEEP claims it desires to play for the world. Wonder if the poor bloke will actually "read, think, and analyze a little deeper", and catch the irony in that.

[Psst ... to help him on his way, since no small confusion exists in his "philiosophical vocabulary" (as do many who write "manifestos")... here's one dictionary definition of the word "irony": "Incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs: “Hyde noted the irony of Ireland's copying the nation she most hated” (Richard Kain)." "Circular reasoning" is citing a conclusion as evidence in an argument, as in a statement like "All websites contain the absolute truth. I read this on a website, therefore it is absolutely true".

Something like constructing a media campaign to raise people's awareness of media campaigns most assuredly is ironic. And most assuredly is not "circular reasoning". Too bad - he appears to have really enjoyed attempting to take that shot. Good thing MeFi is currently restricting new posters ... that poor fellow would have gotten chewed up pretty bad.]
posted by MidasMulligan at 8:47 PM on March 27, 2002

In his reply to this thread, the SLEEP fella comes off as a real asshole. The whole concept seems kinda trite, and looking a little deeper, and a little longer, it all seems pretty vapid to me. An unexamined life isn't worth living, I guess, but cute little posters and rave flyers aren't going to do a damned thing. I've had enough with revolution through graphic design.

I'd bet there isn't a person over the age of 17 in this "Multinational entity." At least I sure hope not.
posted by Doug at 9:09 PM on March 27, 2002

Well sure, it's ironic even he's got his terms mixed up. He also calls it "subliminal enlightenment." It's the poor man's Adbusters, and it's heavy handed, but I think it's great he's doing anything at all. It's good to make people do a mental double-take every once in a while, if that's even possible anymore. The guy probably just got fed up with the blanket of advertising we're all under. All this media, sending out images and ideals and pitchlines all the time.

But that's all it is. Midas, you were deliberately exaggerating in your earlier post. It's not a denial of "nature's pagentry." It's just an attempt to make someone ask himself, "What am I being influenced by?" Commercialism is pretty superficial, but that doesn't mean it can't be fun. Buying something to make your wife happy is one thing, and buying something to make yourself meet a vague ideal you're hooked on is another.
posted by Dean King at 9:43 PM on March 27, 2002

i apologise for not having read this thread fully, but i do want to make a comment supporting the site. it is laudable what they are doing and i agree with a lot of what they say but it can never work imo. people seeing posters like that will just think someone is taking the piss out of them. people have to reach whatever conclusions they come to themselves. and a lot of people are stupid enough to buy into lifestyles pushed onto them and like it. it's no use trying to change people's opinions in this way, basically you are trying to take on the whole of western society in one go.
posted by mokey at 9:23 AM on March 28, 2002

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