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

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Everyone knows that the media surround us, but no one quite understands what this means for our lives. In Media Unlimited, a remarkable and original look at our media-glutted, speed-addicted world, Todd Gitlin makes us stare, as if for the first time, at the biggest picture of all. From video games to elevator music, action movies to reality shows, Gitlin evokes a world of relentless sensation, instant transition, and nonstop stimulus. He shows how all media, all the time fuels celebrity worship, paranoia, and irony; and how attempts to ward off the onrush become occasions for yet more media. Far from signaling a "new information age," the media torrent, as Gitlin argues, encourages disposable emotions and casual commitments, and threatens to make democracy a sideshow.

Both a startling analysis and a charged polemic, Media Unlimited reveals the unending stream of manufactured images and sounds as a defining feature of our civilization and a perverse culmination of Western hopes for freedom.

Todd Gitlin is a professor of culture, journalism, and sociology at New York University and the author of eight previous notable books, including Inside Prime Time, The Whole World is Watching, The Sixties, and The Twilight of Common Dreams. His commentaries on media and politics appear frequently in the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Dissent, and Salon, as well as on National Public Radio. He lives in New York City.

Gitlin, a social critic and professor of journalism and sociology, here offers a provocative new exploration of our media-saturated livesa worthy successor to Marshall McLuhan's Understanding Media. Everyone knows that the media surround us, but no one quite understands how this happened and what it has done to our lives. Critics and analysts focus on this show or that star, the latest Superbowl ad or 24-hour news binge, but they miss the true import of our total immersion in a fast-moving torrent 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 recasts the media-glutted world we think we know.

Ranging from video games to elevator music, action movies to reality shows, billboards to waiting-room TV, punditry to Internet exhibitionists, Gitlin evokes a world of relentless sensation, instant transition, and nonstop stimulus. He shows how, in their unceasing quest for novelty, the media foster distraction and inattention; how all-media, all-the-time fuels celebrity cults, paranoia, and irony; and how all attempts to ward off the onrush become occasions for yet more media. Far from signaling a "new information age," the media torrent, as Gitlin argues, encourages disposable emotions and casual commitments, and threatens to make democracy a sideshow.

Both a startling analysis and a charged polemic, Media Unlimited reveals the unending stream of manufactured images and sounds as one of the defining features of our civilization and as a perverse culmination of Western hopes for freedom.

"Here it is: the biggest cultural question of our time. How are we to live in 'the torrent'the never-ceasing, never-slowing flow of mass-produced words and sounds and images that these days makes up nearly the entirety of human experience? Todd Gitlin traces all the arguments, tests all the responses, and suggests a verdict that is both intelligent and humane."Thomas Frank, author of One Market Under God

"Excellent, arresting . . . Gitlin covers vast reaches of terrain with exceptional skill and daring."Jeffrey Scheuer, Los Angeles Times

"A balanced yet biting critique . . . Gitlin is a savvy guide to our increasingly kinetic timespart of the torrent that's worth listening to."San Francisco Chronicle

"We owe a profound thanks to Todd Gitlin for opening our eyes to a phenomenon that is so omnipresent it can seem invisible. Media is not just what we see on TV, it is the infrastructure in which we live our lives, not just 'content' but environment. Gitlin is our expert environmental guide through this modern wilderness, a place where rivers flow with projected images, forests are thickets of sounds, and the sky is filled with advertisements."Naomi Klein, author of No Logo

"Here it is: the biggest cultural question of our time. How are we to live in 'the torrent'the never-ceasing, never-slowing flow of mass-produced words and sounds and images that these days makes up nearly the entirety of human experience? Todd Gitlin traces all the arguments, tests all the responses, and suggests a verdict that is both intelligent and humane."Thomas Frank, author of One Market Under God

"This is a wise book, well-informed and well-observed. If the media torrent doesn't sweep us all away, it will be in part because Todd Gitlin has so lucidly (and wittily) encouraged us to keep our heads, and use them."Mark Crispin Miller, author of The Bush Dyslexicon and Boxed In

"At once savvy and impassioned, Todd Gitlin writes with inner-sanctum authority about how our newly ramified systems, computers and media, are transfiguring our accepted sense of the world. He is one of the disciplined, one of the unenchanted: He gets it frighteningly right."Sven Birkerts, author of The Gutenberg Elegies

"Many of us, when reading books of extraordinary acuity, feel the need to put exclamation points in the margins when we've read something that sweeps us up with

dn0 its brilliance. Gitlin's work always does this, but Media Unlimited might be his most demanding of margin-defacement. Media Unlimited is enthralling; it's actually a page-turner, and its unbroken chain of plain and unavoidable truths make it essentialand, happily, vastly entertainingreading."Dave Eggers, author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius

"Admirable . . . Gitlin shares a theologian's sense of the profound, a judge's eye for equity, and an activist's hankering for the microphone . . . The media are no longer just the message or the massage: they are just us."Newsday

Synopsis:

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 readers think they know. In "Media Unlimited" he makes readers stare, as if for the first time, at the biggest picture of all.

Synopsis:

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.

Synopsis:

Includes bibliographical references (p. [211]-242) and index.

About the Author

Todd Gitlin is a professor at New York University and the author of eight previous notable books, including Inside Prime Time, The Sixties, and The Twilight of Common Dreams. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents

Introduction — Supersaturation, or, The media torrent and disposable feeling — Speed and sensibility — Styles of navigation and political sideshows — Under the sign of Mickey Mouse & Co.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780805072839
Subtitle:
How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives
Author:
Gitlin, Todd
Publisher:
Picador
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Mass media
Subject:
Mass Media
Edition Number:
1st Owl Books ed.
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series Volume:
1588
Publication Date:
20030106
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Journalism » General
History and Social Science » Journalism » Media Studies
History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » General
History and Social Science » Sociology » Media

Media Unlimited: How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives Used Trade Paper
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Product details 256 pages Owl Books (NY) - English 9780805072839 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , 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 readers think they know. In "Media Unlimited" he makes readers stare, as if for the first time, at the biggest picture of all.
"Synopsis" by , 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.

"Synopsis" by , Includes bibliographical references (p. [211]-242) and index.
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