The End of the World -- Again: Why the Apocalypse Meme Replicates in Media, Science, and Culture

 
9780979840463: The End of the World -- Again: Why the Apocalypse Meme Replicates in Media, Science, and Culture

Doomsday scenarios. They proliferate in our culture, from economics to ecology, theology to technology, biology to cosmology, James Bond to Slavoj Zizek, Plato's Atlantis to Lars von Trier's Melancholia. With creativity and critical insight, Barry Vacker shows why apocalyptic memes replicate and have built-in survival advantages. He also explains how the doomsdays reveal the deeper challenges facing human existence -- the philosophical apocalypse effected by our lack of cosmic meaning in the vast universe. Have we really embraced our true existence on Spaceship Earth floating in the cosmos of the new millennium? Our calendars say we have passed the year 2000, but have we really entered the new millennium? The End of the World -- Again offers an original, exciting, and (for some) terrifying critique of culture in 2012 and beyond.

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About the Author:

Barry Vacker teaches media and cultural studies at Temple University (Philadelphia), where he is an associate professor and faculty teaching mentor in the School of Media and Communication. Vacker is the author of many articles and books on art, media, science, technology, and culture. His most recent books include the innovative text anthology, Media Environments (San Diego: Cognella 2010), and the text for Peter Granser's Signs (Stuttgart: Hatje Cantz and the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Photography 2008). He earned his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin in 1995.

Vacker's most recent academic articles include: 1) Yearning to be the center of everything when we are the center of nothing: Parallels and reversals in Chaco, Hubble, and Facebook, in Telematics and Informatics, Volume 30, 2013, presenting a mind-bending critique of how Facebook is our existential consolation for the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope; 2) Black holes in the electronic galaxies, in The Unconnected: Social Justice, Participation and Engagement in the Information Society (Peter Lang Press, 2013), presenting a radical new theory of media resistance as digital disappearance.

Review:

The End of the World -- Again is a fantastic yet haunting book, taking us on a strange trip into the absurdities and anxieties of apocalyptic culture. The book poses many deep questions about the fate of humanity and the meaning of our existence, with an analysis that is daring and unconventional, unfolding in so many layers that it is vertiginous for the reader. The result is a fascinating and marvelously bizarre critique of media and culture after the millennium. It is a work of absolute virtuosity.

-- Elisabeth Krecké, artist and professor, Aix-Marseille Université (France), and Carine Krecké, artist and author, winner of the Premier Prix du Concours Littéraire National 2008 --Inside Front Cover

As Barry Vacker explains in this thoroughly researched and -- frankly -- fascinating book, the apocalypse is a powerful motivator and a formidable meme. It has been so for all of human history. We fear the void, and the idea of not being at the center of the universe (at least since the time of Galileo) is a fearful thing indeed. Of course, it is always at the margins where the most interesting work is done. Happily, out here on the edge of our galaxy, banished from its center after all by scientific fact, it is not the end of the world again -- only the end of a certain worldview. Readers of this book should take heart, take heed of the history contained herein, and look to liberate their own creativity to reveal tomorrow's exhilarating territory. And tomorrow always comes.

-- Jeff Stein, president of Paolo Soleri's Cosanti Foundation, engaged in the continuing design and construction of the urban laboratory Arcosanti in central Arizona --Inside Front Cover

As Barry Vacker explains in this thoroughly researched and -- frankly -- fascinating book, the apocalypse is a powerful motivator and a formidable meme. It has been so for all of human history. We fear the void, and the idea of not being at the center of the universe (at least since the time of Galileo) is a fearful thing indeed. Of course, it is always at the margins where the most interesting work is done. Happily, out here on the edge of our galaxy, banished from its center after all by scientific fact, it is not the end of the world again -- only the end of a certain worldview. Readers of this book should take heart, take heed of the history contained herein, and look to liberate their own creativity to reveal tomorrow's exhilarating territory. And tomorrow always comes.

-- Jeff Stein, president of Paolo Soleri's Cosanti Foundation, engaged in the continuing design and construction of the urban laboratory Arcosanti in central Arizona --Inside Front Cover

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Barry Vacker
Published by Center for Media and Destiny (2012)
ISBN 10: 0979840465 ISBN 13: 9780979840463
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Book Description Center for Media and Destiny, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 1st edition. 171 pages. 8.90x0.60x6.00 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # 0979840465

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