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.