Media Unlimited: How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives

Media Unlimited: How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives

by Todd Gitlin
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Media Unlimited: How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives

A provocative new exploration of our media-saturated lives-a worthy successor to Marshall McLuhan's Understanding Media.

Everyone knows that the media is all around us, but no one quite understands its effect on our lives. Critics and analysts focus on this show or that celebrity, but they miss the true import of our total immersion in a fast-moving sea of sounds and images. As he did with television in Inside Prime Time and with the culture wars in The Twilight of Common Dreams, Todd Gitlin once again recasts the world we think we know. In Media Unlimited, a remarkable and original look at our media-saturated, speed-addicted world, he makes us stare, as if for the first time, at the biggest picture of all.

Ranging from video games to elevator music, action movies to reality shows, punditry to Internet exhibitionists, Gitlin evokes a world of relentless sensation and nonstop stimulus. Far from signaling a "new information age" or a rescue from passivity, the media torrent, as he shows, fosters disposable emotions and casual commitments, and threatens to make democracy a sideshow.

A charged polemic, Media Unlimited reveals the glut of manufactured images and sounds as one of the defining features of our civilization, and as a perverse culmination of Western hopes for freedom.]]>

Product Details

ISBN-13: 2900805086897
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 09/18/2007
Edition description: Revised Edition
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 1.25(h) x 9.00(d)

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Media Unlimited: How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this wry and perceptive tome, sociologist and social critic Todd Gitlin takes aim at the plethora of ways in which the modern electronic media has become such an integral part of our cultural environment that it acts to influence us in a number of important and substantive ways. In an argument reminiscent of both Karl Marx and c. Wright Mills, he writes convincingly of the insidious influence such media influence acts to rearrange our social, economic, and even psychic awareness of everything around us. Therefore, he argues, our very feelings and ideas are saturated by and therefore encumbered with, a dose of supersaturated information-rich data, and it is difficult to understand where the influence ends and we as substantive human beings begin. For what is coming at us is a revolutionary force, a virtual torrent of information hurtling down on us with increasing speed. This onslaught of media-propelled information has become a flood of images, data, and symbols we are scarcely aware of in terms of its ability to influence and guide us in our daily lives and the degree to which we carry it around with us as perceptive baggage. In this sense we are manipulated to an unknown extent by this baggage and by the predisposition to seeing the world in a certain way. Seen in this way, it threatens our individuality and our ability to participate meaningfully in a democratic setting. So, while it is commonplace to observe that the media surrounds us in all we say and do, it is less well understood how profoundly this media presence affects us in almost every aspect of our lives. Few critics point out the degree to which this immersion in a world flooded by media manipulation of every element of social, economic, and political phenomena, or what this immersion does to us individually in terms of our own ability to perceive the truth, or to our own critical thinking or cognitive functioning. Just as C. Wright Mills warned of the potential for political evil rising from the domination of the mass society stemming from the media's ability to slant social perceptions, Gitlin points out the degree to which our habitual reliance on the media for most of the information we need and use to conduct every aspect of our lives also makes us a prisoner of the quality of the information we are given in viewing the outside world or even ourselves. This is a terrific book, one that takes an intriguing look at certain elements of out media and how it affects as citizens, companions, and individuals. Enjoy!