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In this utterly original look at our modern culture of performance de Zengotita shows how media are creating self reflective environments custom made for each of us 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 cliues to marital therapy from blogs to reality TV to the Weather Channel Mediated takes us on an original and astonishing tour of every department of our media saturated society The implications are personal and far reaching at the same time Thomas de Zengotita is a contributing editor at Harper's Magazine and holds a PhD in anthropology from Columbia University He teaches at the Dalton School and at the Draper Graduate Program at New York University Reading Thomas de Zengotita's Mediated is 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 O magazine A fine roar of a lecture about how the American mind is shaped by too much media Washington Post Deceptively collouial intellectually denseThis provocative extreme and compelling work is a must read for philosophers of every stripe Publishers Weekly

10 thoughts on “Mediated How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It

  1. says:

    Modern Media Outrage PornRather than report on real stories and real issues the media find it much easier and profitable to find something mildly offensive broadcast it to a wide audience generate outrage and then broadcast that outrage back across the population in a way that outrages yet another part of the populationThis triggers a kind of echo of bullshit pinging back and forth between two imaginary sides meanwhile distracting everyone from real societal problemsIt’s no wonder we’re politically polarized than ever before We have to figure out a way to break this loop The future stability of our political systems may depend on itThe writer and media commentator Ryan Holiday refers to this as “Outrage Porn” It made #10 in The Biggest Problem in the Universe listhttpthebiggestproblemintheuniverseDeservedly

  2. says:

    This was a frustrating book It is built around an essay he wrote which I thought was excellent He should have left it at that There were many gems in this book but it was poorly argued almost incoherent unfocused and most importantly pointless He states in clear terms that the Christian worldview is nonsense and those that follow it are delusional or victims of habit He never states why any of it matters What does it matter how people interact with the world if there is no ultimate purpose to the world or to our existence? Yet he argues as though it does matter I agree that it matters but I have good reasons why he's got nothing but complaints and rants Read the essay entitled The Numbing of the American Mind Culture as Anesthetic and leave it at that Or if you really want to read the gems I've got them typed out But save yourself the time and frustration of reading the book

  3. says:

    He's best on the typologies of the real 19 20; from real real to edited real real to staged observed real repeated and beyondMore valuable points The best way to achieve the insulational state of numbness is to be swamped with routine activities 186Habit in a mediated adulthood that dims down the horizon of options through immersion in a numbing routine allows many of us to feel relatively real 189Overreach Representational technologies have colonized our minds To the extent that our thoughts no longer wander along on their own stocked only with materials drawn from direct experience to the extent they follow flows of representations instead to just that extent we don't think our own thoughts 196Compare Ozick on Helen Keller Her dependence on Annie for the assimilation of her immediate surroundings was nearly total but through the raised letters of Braille she could be altogether untethered books coursed through herBut the cruellest appraisal of all came in 1933 from Thomas Cutsforth a blind psychologist By this time Helen was fifty two and had published many volumes Cutsforth disparaged everything she had become The wordless child she once was he maintained was closer to reality than what her teacher had made of her through the imposition of “word mindedness” He objected to her use of images such as “a mist of green” “blue pools of dog violets” “soft clouds tumbling” All that he protested was “implied chicanery” and “a birthright sold for a mess of verbiage”For Cutsforth—and not only for him—she was the victim of language rather than its victorious master She was no better than a copy; whatever was primary and thereby genuine had been stamped outShe was a warrior in a vaster and vexing conflict Do we know only what we see or do we see what we somehow already know? Are we than the sum of our senses? Does a picture—whatever strikes the retina—engender thought or does thought create the picture? Can there be subjectivity without an object to glance off? Theorists have their differing notions to which the ungraspable organism that is Helen Keller is a retort She is not an advocate for one side or the other in the ancient debate concerning the nature of the real She is not a philosophical or neurological or therapeutic topic She stands for enigma; there lurks in her still the angry child who demanded to be understood yet could not be deciphered She refutes those who cannot perceive or do not care to value what is hidden from sensation collective memory heritage literatureHelen Keller’s lot it turns out was not uniue “We work in the dark” Henry James affirmed on behalf of his own art; and so did she It was the same dark She knew her Wordsworth “Visionary power Attends the motions of the viewless winds Embodied in the mystery of words There darkness makes abode” She vivified Keats’s phantom theme of negative capability the poet’s oarless casting about for the hallucinatory shadows of desire She fought the debunkers who for the sake of a spurious honesty would denude her of landscape and return her to the marble cell She fought the literalists who took imagination for mendacity who meant to disinherit her and everyone of poetry Her legacy after all is an epistemological marker of sorts proof of the real existence of the mind’s eye

  4. says:

    This is an amazing book which has seriously changed the direction of my planning for PhD studies It is written as another reviewer keenly observed in the voice of the best sort of teacher one who challenges cajoles and sometimes infuriates and never ever leaves you feeling uite the same after being in their classroomDr de Zengotita anticipated the reader's desire for a solution to the dilemma he describes yet none the less leaves us without one as impossible to formulate How are we to address a world is which everything is mediated to such an extant that it's become nearly impossible to find elements of any real experience what so ever? And is it even true that this is the current state of affairs?This is an ideal book if you like to have your thinking mind truly provoked into examining the layers of representation that comprise ?much of the world around us in us of us Are we approaching a singularity of creativity and originality? And in a world of reflexivity and representation how are we to move forward in ways which maybe have the possibility of steering us from the brink of planetary disasterIt's a lot for a meditation teacher to ponder I think I'll be sitting with this one for a while If you read it too by all means let me know so we can talk about it together

  5. says:

    Eye opening ideas riveting writing There were moments when I caught myself hallucinating picturing myself hanging with Marshall McLuhan and listening to him rant due to excessive use of amphetamines But in a good way

  6. says:

    the book isn't uninteresting but also isn't anywhere near exhaustive in its analysis i think the author'ss arm chair critiuing what he sees around him rather than advancing any seriously developed theories i liked the introduction though and his theory of optionality defining virtual experience but not enough to finish the book

  7. says:

    I picked up this book thinking it would provide a truthful look at how our culture's media obsession is impacting our lives I knew I was in trouble when in the first chapter I readBut most people are cool with having tons of options to exercise at will At least in the blue statesAt least in the blue states? Ok a mild dig at conservatives I should come to expect this from an author like de Zengotita whose existence doesn't expand beyond the socialistic walls of academia Men like him wouldn't survive in the world proper for than two ticks I can brush off this erroneous and false notion that red staters abhor options I read onI should've stopped when I had the chance Not two pages later de Zengotita whips out this pseudo intellectual babbleThese same people who believe there is nothing new under the sun tend to think it's deep to talk about historical pendulums they never fail to remind us that there have always been representations of choice Beliefs like that are crude denials of the psychological process that actually determine how we functionIn short order this guy mocks the book of Ecclesiastes and tells me that because I point to established historical cultural patterns that I'm in some form of denial Say what?In other words I don't buy into his theory so therefore I'm the one who is off base This fellow obviously uses the same scientific method we see used to prove global warming Data? We don't need no stinkin' dataSo no thanks If I want to be mocked by someone without a clue I'll watch the president speak

  8. says:

    Simply put perhaps too simply this book is about the media and its effects but it is also about something fundamental This book is the most clear expression or demonstration of what it means to say we live in the postmodern era There has been a lot of books written on what postmodernism means and most of them are lofty academic expositions that speak to only a select few This book speaks to everyone and says some very thoughtful things about what it means to live in a late capitalist media driven postmodern society If you're interested in that kind of thing this is a 5 star account that won't disappoint

  9. says:

    An excellent book exploring the cumulative effect that mass media or perhaps any experience mediating institution have had on our experience especially in the past 400 years I expected this to be a commentary on institutions of mass media and public opinion or something along those lines Instead the book is far ambitious and does an excellent job of showing how deep the effects of media go into our personal lives De Zengotita does an excellent job to keep it interesting if dense or otherwise hard to digest at times and to keep it relevant to the overall message which really comes together at the end Tough at times but definitely worth it

  10. says:

    I didn't understand half of what the author was saying The writing was often pedanic and ostentatious and very funny at times Freuently I didn't know what the examples and anecdotes were supposed to illustrate Everything de Zengotita says is pure conjecture But I loved the book anyway I've read and thought a lot about the media and how it shapes our views of the world and ourselves so I apprectiate a book that makes the suject new for me so appreciative that I think I'll reread this one and hopefully come to a better understanding of the paradoxical conditions of life in a flood of imagery