Media Virus: Hidden Agendas in Popular Culture

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9780091830687: Media Virus: Hidden Agendas in Popular Culture

"The brilliant heir to McLuhan." New Perspectives Quarterly
Bold, daring, and provocative, Douglas Rushkoff examines the intricate ways in which popular media both manipulates and is manipulated by those who tap into its power. If the medium is the message, then what sort of messages are infecting our culture through the ever-expanding media viruses of the "datasphere"?

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Review:

Have you ever noticed that the word "media" refers both to the tool for disseminating information in human societies as well as the substrate upon which geneticists grow bacteria and viruses? Rushkoff has written one of the more provocative and insightful analyses of the paths of conceptual infection in human media, and about the techniques and goals of those who spread media viruses. This fun, hip, yet insightful book is well worth buying.

From Kirkus Reviews:

An inspired look at how ideas are disseminated by the media and at how new concepts can be injected into the mainstream, altering views about critical social issues. The ``datasphere,'' says culture critic Rushkoff (Cyberia, not reviewed), is the new territory of human development, a region as ``open as the globe was five hundred years ago.'' Discounting fears that new media will remain the province of corporations and governments, Rushkoff maintains that they're too complex and chaotic to be controlled by any one force. In fact, he asserts, the media replicates much like biological forms and can be manipulated to hasten our evolution. This book is a guide to empowerment through media activism; it shows how progressive notions are ``injected'' into the media--often with careful premeditation--via television programs like ``The Simpsons'' or through the recreation of events like the Rodney King beating on programs like ``L.A. Law.'' Rushkoff interviews young meta-media theorists who develop ``designer viruses'' such as the ``Smart Drugs'' public relations campaign (which works to legalize drugs the FDA forbids) in order to ``infect'' public thinking. And he shows how attempts to control the media can backfire, as happened in the 1992 Republican presidential campaign. The book has its problems: A helter-skelter style sometimes undermines the rigor of otherwise persuasive arguments, and Rushkoff is so enthusiastic about the positive power of everything from daytime talk shows to MTV that he barely acknowledges their negative effects. A more critical perspective-- or an examination of the media activism of the Christian right or other cultural forces--would have given his study a critical edge it lacks. But this book will convince many that the counterculture is alive and well--and more widely dispersed than ever. (Author tour) -- Copyright 1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Douglas Rushkoff
Published by Random House, Milsons Point (1994)
ISBN 10: 0091830680 ISBN 13: 9780091830687
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Book Description Random House, Milsons Point, 1994. Stiff Wrappers. Book Condition: Near Fine. No Jacket. 1st Australian Edition. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Book. Bookseller Inventory # 002015

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