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In this look at our electronically glutted, speed-addicted world, Todd Gitlin evokes a reality of relentless sensation, instant transition, and nonstop stimulus, which he argues is anything but progress. He shows how all media, all the time fuels celebrity worship, paranoia, and irony, and how attempts to ward off the onrush become occasion for yet more media. Far from bringing about a “new information age,” Gitlin argues, the digital torrent has fostered a society of disposable emotions and casual commitments, and threatens to make democracy a sideshow. In a new afterword, Gitlin takes measure of the most recent wave of inundation in the form of iPods, blogs, and YouTube.
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.