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Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in it
     

Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in it

5.0 2
by Thomas de Zengotita
 

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A provocative, eye-opening look at the way media shapes every aspect of our lives.

Just when you thought there was nothing new to say about the media, along comes a book that transcends the conventional wisdom with an original vision, one that unites our most intimate personal concerns with far-reaching historical trends in an accessible way. From Princess

Overview

A provocative, eye-opening look at the way media shapes every aspect of our lives.

Just when you thought there was nothing new to say about the media, along comes a book that transcends the conventional wisdom with an original vision, one that unites our most intimate personal concerns with far-reaching historical trends in an accessible way. From Princess Diana's funeral to the prospect of mass terror, from oral sex in the Oval Office to cowboy politics in distant lands, from high school cliques to marital therapy, from hip-hop nation to climbing Mt. Everest, from blogs to reality TV to the Weather Channel, Mediated takes us on a tour of every department of our media-saturated society. And at every turn we see ourselves as we are, immersed in options, surrounded by representations, driven to unprecedented levels of self-consciousness-and obliged by these circumstances to transform our very lives into performances.

Sophisticated, satirical, sometimes searing, ultimately forgiving, Mediated tackles everything we take for granted and reintroduces us to it all as if for the first time. You'll laugh, you'll squirm, you'll agree, you'll object-but you'll find more Aha! moments packed into fewer pages than you've ever come across before.

Editorial Reviews

Brian Lehrer
"One of the best books I've ever read about the media."
Christian Science Monitor
"De Zengotita's book may be just the 'real entity' to make us flinch - and think."
Columbus Dispatch
"Marvelously entertaining and down to earth…universal and personal, current and provocative…a virtuoso performance."

O Magazine
"Like spending time with a wild, wired friend - the kind who keeps you up late and lures you outside of your comfort zone with a speed rap full of brilliant notions."
Washington Post
"…a fine roar of a lecture about how the American mind is shaped."
Publishers Weekly
In a deceptively colloquial, intellectually dense style, de Zengotita posits that since the 1960s, Americans have belonged to a culture of reflexivity, and the media in all their forms have put us there. We're bombarded from childhood with so many images putting "us"-the individual person-at the center of the universe that we cannot help thinking that this is where we belong. We live in a Times Square world, says the Harper's contributing editor, and thus we become the ultimate Descartesians: media think only of us, therefore we think only of ourselves. The result of this self-centeredness is that we become increasingly numbed by the bombardment of images and, in a variation on the "if a tree falls in the woods" query, we can no longer imagine our premediated lives. Media imagery has given us an omniscient perspective-we can be on the grassy knoll, by the Twin Towers, on the beach as the tsunami hits-while never having to incur the horrors of being there. "Mediation" inevitably closes us off to the unmediated world, home of those victims of the tsunami whose lives are hideously hard and where no media put them front and center. This provocative, extreme and compelling work is a must-read for philosophers of every stripe. (Mar. 2) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
How direct experience seems to have been replaced by the representations of life-images delivered by profit-oriented or otherwise suspiciously motivated media interveners. Self-styled social-critic de Zengotita (Anthropology/New York Univ.) offers a mostly pessimistic, mostly ironic extended commentary about the contemporary American experience. It seems that media-broadly but never specifically defined here-have taken over hundreds of millions of minds. Almost every concept, almost every tangible object, is commodified, he says. The result? It's nearly impossible to think of even highly personal events such as birth or marriage without being influenced by images concocted by others, including movie producers, self-help authors, counselors, workshop presenters, memoirists, philosophers, and the like. Maybe a few objects are just what they are, he says, using paper clips and pencils as examples, purchased and used not because of what they say about a life, but because of their unadorned functionality. Such objects are rare in his view of the world, however, as are unmediated thoughts. He uses the death of Princess Diana as an example of mediated reality, meaning that those who paid attention "were truly grieving and they were performing. Immersed in a world continuously represented from every angle, they understood Di's death as an opportunity to play a significant role in it, to represent themselves at levels of prominence usually reserved for the celebrated. But they already knew how to be representational." Because it seems that anything and everything, anybody and everybody, could be considered a mediator or be mediated, de Zengotita's hypothesis is so all-encompassing as to beelusive. In a preface, the author tells us that "the actual process of mediationis elaborate beyond imagining," a warning that proves all too true. This extended essay perhaps would have been more effective as a magazine article than as an exhaustingly abstract, repetitive book. Lots of self-contained fascinating thoughts about matters such as the impact of TV on viewers, but too often de Zengotita offers seemingly random ideas in search of a lucid thesis. Agent: Michelle Tessler/Tessler Literary Agency

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781582343570
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Publication date:
03/02/2005
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
5.74(w) x 8.52(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Thomas de Zengotita is a contributing editor at Harper's Magazine and the Nation, and holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from Columbia University. He teaches at the Dalton School and at the Draper Graduate Program at NYU.

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Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
nice
Guest More than 1 year ago
This the most insightful, intelligent and entertaining books on the social and cultural history of our times that I've ever read. To understand where we are and how we got here you need to read this book.