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Thursday, February 1, 2007
Do the Mooninites have a posse?
Another cultural phenomenon the Mooninite story brings to mind: the awesome and slightly creepy experiment in the 1980s and '90s by Frank Shepard Fairey -- who was for part of the time a student at the Rhode Island School of Design -- that involved volunteers posting stickers nationwide that depicted the face and sometimes torso of the massive wrestler Andre the Giant. Some of these stickers included the slogan "Andre the Giant has a posse" (while others included the creepier "OBEY Giant"):
As this Wikipedia entry describes it, "The essential appeal of the campaign is its parody of propaganda, both political and corporate, that permeates modern American culture. The ubiquity and placement of the Andre the Giant/OBEY GIANT imagery resembles an advertising campaign, a campaign for a non-existent product. Fairey mocks the idea of branding by creating his own fake brand, subversively using advertising techniques to elevate Andre the Giant's image to iconic status."
Fairey, who's still in the news as a performance artist, described it all as an experiment in phenomenology, along the lines of "how widely can we propagate a nonsensical phrase and image?" There was something pure about it, since by intention it had no commercial intention, but it was also clearly a comment on what effect advertising can have on our minds. So it is with the Mooninites: their very nonsensical nature caused the whole Hub Hubbub.