After Adbusters and Occupy, Kalle Lasn is spoiling for brand new fights (1)
You’re not administering a test. It just seems that way, given everything you know about the person in front of you. Kalle Lasn, the founder of Adbusters magazine and the godfather of the Occupy movement, is standing in The Globe and Mail cafeteria in downtown Toronto, considering the options for his morning coffee: Starbucks, or a generic java?
You know how this ends. He’s a tireless gadfly who’s been struggling for decades against the persistent corporate branding of all human experience. And sure enough, Lasn chooses the no-name brew. But then he shrugs, and adds an explanatory footnote: “I find Starbucks too bitter.”
Lasn will not be branded, pigeonholed, certainly not by others; he will not be who you expect him to be.
Start with his reputation for being fierce and uncompromising, a gnomish tiger. Today, he seems like nothing more than a spirited 70-year-old who has wandered in off the street, carrying a battered brown briefcase with a copy of The New York Times folded up inside. (Touring the Globe offices, he repeatedly expresses an old-fashioned thrill about the creation and production of a daily paper.)
In town for only two days, he has failed to pack for an impending winter storm.