A rousing indictment of global marketing, and a stirring account of the growing backlash against it.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
April 06, 2002
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from No Logo by Naomi Klein
If I squint, tilt my head, and shut my left eye, all I can see out the window is 1932, straight down to the lake. Brown warehouses, oatmeal-colored smokestacks, faded signs painted on brick walls advertising long-discontinued brands: "Lovely," "Gaywear." This is the old industrial Toronto of garment factories, furriers and wholesale wedding dresses. So far, no one has come up with a way to make a profit out of taking a wrecking ball to these boxes of brick, and in this little eight-or nine-block radius, the modern city has been layered haphazardly on top of the old.
I wrote this book while living in Toronto's ghost of a garment district in a ten-story warehouse. Many other buildings like it have long since been boarded up, glass panes shattered, smokestacks holding their breath; their only remaining capitalist function is to hoist large blinking billboards on their tar-coated roofs, reminding the gridlocked drivers on the lakeshore expressway of the existence of Molson's beer, Hyundai cars and EZ Rock FM.
In the twenties and thirties, Russian and Polish immigrants darted back and forth on these streets, ducking into delis to argue about Trotsky and the leadership of the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. These days, old Portuguese men still push racks of dresses and coats down the sidewalk, and next door you can still buy a rhinestone bridal tiara if the need for such an item happens to arise (a Hallowe'en costume, or perhaps a school play...). The real action, however, is down the block amid the stacks of edible jewelry at Sugar Mountain, the retro candy mecca, open until 2 a.m. to service the late-night ironic cravings of the club kids. And a store downstairs continues to do a modest trade in bald naked mannequins, though more often than not it's rented out as the surreal set for a film school project or the tragically hip backdrop of a television interview.
The layering of decades on Spadina Avenue, like so many urban neighborhoods in a similar state of postindustrial limbo, has a wonderful accidental charm to it. The lofts and studios are full of people who know they are playing their part in a piece of urban performance art, but for the most part, they do their best not to draw attention to that fact. If anyone claims too much ownership over "the real Spadina," then everyone else starts feeling like a two-bit prop, and the whole edifice crumbles.
Which is why it was so unfortunate that City Hall saw fit to commission a series of public art installations to "celebrate" the history of Spadina Avenue. First came the steel figures perched atop the lampposts: women hunched over sewing machines and crowds of striking workers waving placards with indecipherable slogans. Then the worst happened: the giant brass thimble arrived -- right at the corner of my block. There it was: eleven and a half feet high and eleven feet across. Two giant pastel buttons were plopped on the sidewalk next to it, with wimpy little saplings growing out of the holes. Thank goodness Emma Goldman, the famed anarchist and labor organizer who lived on this street in the late 1930s, wasn't around to witness the transformation of the garment workers' struggle into sweatshop kitsch.