What in the world does "jammer extraordinaire" mean? A google search lead me to the use of the phrase in a variety of contexts but no clear indication of what is could mean. I first found it on Huffington Post (here) under the author's name.

Ron English
Oil Painter, Post-Pop Pundit and Proto-Culture Jammer Extraordinaire

  • 1
    I did not see that phrase in the article you posted. It probably depends on the context. Playing music is sometimes called "jamming." Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 5:55
  • The phrase is right at the bottom, in the internet tags for the article. The music context of 'jamming' does not sense for an artist, an oil painter. None of the articles I found online (the used the phrase) had anything to do with music.
    – rajasen
    Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 10:43

2 Answers 2


"Jamming" has a variety of meanings, including:

  • Playing music informally in a group
  • Creating electromagnetic interference, to prevent another signal from being usable
  • Running intensely

"_________er extraordinaire" is an informal way of hyping that someone is unusually good (or dedicated) at _________ing.

The original post's example was probably written by the person being discussed. He probably intended it as a light-hearted description of what he does. In this context, either of the first two meanings of "jam" (listed above) might be appropriate. The first meaning is the straight-forward meaning: "creatively coming up with ideas for cultural phenomena, in collaboration with others." But in "Post-Modern" cultural studies, often the point of the exercise is to "de-construct" a phenomenon. So the second meaning is an ironic possibility: "coming up with ideas for cultural phenomena (or cultural criticism) that interfere with other cultural phenomena."


The word extraordinaire is probably what makes it confusing for you. Have you lookup it up in a dictionary? It's an adjective of French origin which is used to describe someone who is outstandingly good at a particular activity. It literally does mean extraordinary—remarkable or unsually great. This adjective is used postpositively, which means that it's always positioned after the noun it describes. This kind of grammar is not at all common in Modern English, but is very common in Latin-based languages such as French where this word comes from.

The noun jammer in the phrase proto-culture jammer most likely refers to a social phenomenon known as culture jamming. The following is an excerpt from the Wikipedia article on culture jamming:

Culture jamming (sometimes guerrilla communication) is a tactic used by many anti-consumerist social movements to disrupt or subvert media culture and its mainstream cultural institutions, including corporate advertising. It attempts to "expose the methods of domination" of a mass society to foster progressive change.

Culture jamming is a form of subvertising. Many culture jams are intended to expose questionable political assumptions behind commercial culture. Tactics include re-figuring logos, fashion statements, and product images as a means to challenge the idea of "what's cool". Culture jamming often entails using mass media to produce ironic or satirical commentary about itself, commonly using the original medium's communication method.

I'm not one hundred percent sure if that's exactly what he means by proto-culture jammer, though. I took a cursory look at his website and, honestly, couldn't find anything to back it up.

  • As a languages teacher, I understand 'extraordinaire.' It is 'jammer' that is more confusing in the context of a person who is primarily an oil painter. I did find 'culture jamming' but I still could not make a perfect connection between an oil painter and this form of "jamming." In the numerous web references I was able to find, it was the phrase "jammer extraordinaire" that occurred most frequently, independent of the words "culture." Your explanation makes some sense in the context of his works re-imagining Picasso's 'Guernica,' the original context that triggered this search. Thanks a lot!
    – rajasen
    Commented Mar 8, 2018 at 11:01

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