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How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives
by Todd Gitlin

Metropolitan Books (Henry Holt & Co.) ISBN: 0805048987

Those who devour the banter on National Public Radio will love Todd Gitlinís book, Media Unlimited. In this 240-plus-page volume, Gitlin manages to tell his readers what they already knowĖthat the media is overwhelming them.

Gitlin admits to being a stickler for grammar and then turns to give a lengthy reason why "the media" shouldnít be referred to as a singular entity. What the author doesnít seem to realize in intellectualizing the media is thatís itís already a plural noun.

Gitlin offers a short history of how society got to the point where itís supersaturated with a torrent of information coming at it at incredible speed. He says, "The most important truth about the communications we live among is not that they deceive (which they do); or that they broadcast a limiting ideology (which they do); or emphasize sex and violence (which they do); or convey diminished images of the good, the true, and the normal (which they do); or corrode the quality of art (which they also do); or reduce language (which they surely do), but that with all their lies, skews, and shallow pleasures, they surround and seep into our way of life with a promise of feeling-always there, speeding forward, flashing out of large screens and small, gushing forth in living rooms, or sliding back into the background of life, but always beckoning, always coursing onward."

He complains that the masses have never been able to afford to go to the theater, but as a professor of journalism and culture at New York University, itís a sure bet that heís a regular attender. It Ďs also obvious that he abhors network television and feels more at home tuned to PBS.

Itís one thing for intellectuals (i.e. those that think themselves smarter than the rest of society and let everyone know it) to preach how things should be from the comfort of their Ivory Towers. Itís another for them to actually do something about it (which they almost never do).

In this book, Gitlin proports to be a a 21st -Century Marshall McLuhan. But unlike McLuhan, he rambles on endlessly about the "media torrent" while unleashing a torrent of intellectual garbage on his readers.

Buy this book...


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