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Media Virus! Hidden Agendas in Popular Culture Paperback – February 6, 1996
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Rushkoff's first book about digital culture, Cyberia, was canceled by Bantam in 1992 because they thought the Internet would be "over" by the time the book came out in 1993. It came out the next year with HarperCollins. When he told his publicist there about listing the book on Amazon, she replied "that sounds great! Is Amazon for the Mac or the PC?"
Top Customer Reviews
Rushkoff skillfully dissects such 'memes' as the O.J. Simpson trial, the Rodney King beating tape, and the pervasive influence of MTV editing. He finds Queer sexuality in 'Ren & Stimpy', social agendas with John Morgenthaler's 'Smart Drugs' campaign, and closes the book with an insightful and rare interview with the influential musician, raver, and performance artist Genesis P-Orridge (Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, Pigface, Thee Majesty).
Much of what Rushkoff has written has become de facto teaching within university media courses, and Rushkoff's insights have been clarified and commented upon by many other social theorists and cyberpunks. This is a valuable book because its accessible easy to read style makes it a good introduction to a field that many find foreboding, difficult or complex. Rushkoff is careful to include case-studies and examples such as detailed semiotic analysis of 'The Simpsons', and to provide the relevant historical and industry contexts. The book's influence can be seen by the prevalence of Madison Avenue techniques subsequent to the book's publication, and the popularity of mutant media.
Well worth checking out!
In a witty style, Rushkoff praises the MTV generation for their ability to do - and understand - more than one thing at a time. Written in 1994, the book's seems a bit dated in its predictions... and more than slightly optimistic in speculating about the liberating aspects of new media to resurrect the political passions of Americans. Media Virus remains an excellent overview of the tensions and possibilities that television presents for political activists.
The book was meant to be, I believe, a mental exercise of awareness. It's tone and content seam more reminiscant of a late night cafine and marijuan-induced intellectual discourse than a research book. However, that doesn't mean that whats in the book won't teach you anything. Far from it. Some people in the advertising industry thinks of the concepts in this book as the next step in the evolution of marketing. Now that I've read the book, I can see lots of "media-virus" tactics used in advertising, from the simple, (the energiser bunny, floating from commercial to commercial), to the more complex and subversive (Calvin Klien's psuedo-kiddy porn jean commercials which got banned).
A media virus is, to put it simply, the most effective way available to those in the media to get a message from thier mind into the minds and conversations of the average viewer. If you've ever talked about a commercial before you've seen it, because somebody mentioned it, you're probably talking about a media virus.
of the media on our lives. Rushkoff asserts that influences from the media replicate through popular culture the way that biological viruses do, and further, can be engineered for maximum efficacy.
Examining television programs such as "Ren and Stimpy," which
he believes promotes homosexuality, to media events
such as the O.J. Simpson trial, which he believes is indicative of society's inability to cope with spousal abuse and interracial marriage, Rushkoff
points out that much of what we watch on television consists of pointed messages carefully encapsulated in seemingly innocuous carriers. Rushkoff also points out that media viruses can be injected into popular culture from the bottom up through the use of the
alternative media and the Internet.
Interesting and provocative, this book, itself a media virus,
shows us how easily we as a culture can be manipulated.
However, there were times in the book that I thought Rushkoff was giving more credit than was due in attributing certain effects to their creators. This book is highly recommended for those with an interest in the psychology of the media and how people can be influenced by it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is simply amazing! Although not for everyone - if you are interested in viral marketing, systems engineering/systems thinking, chaos theory, and how the mass media works,... Read morePublished on October 2, 2009 by J.R. Sedivy
This book tries to explain how and why the media would try to send out its ideals to the masses through a selective exposé of certain television programs such as THE... Read morePublished on November 14, 2006 by chris banez lim
Ten years since I read Media Virus I still find it extremely relevant, actually even more so. I first read it out of curiosity - being a Simpson's and Beavis and Butthead fanatic. Read morePublished on November 13, 2006 by David Howse
The bizarre negative reviews in this space belong to a couple of "conspiracy theorists" who are writing bad reviews of everyone associated with the Disinformation web... Read morePublished on July 27, 2004 by Sam I Am
I follow the adventures of this young man in the realm of literature for some years now and had the opportunity to exchange some e-mails with him due to my quite provocative... Read morePublished on August 11, 2003 by Vadim Limonoff
The best Rushkoff can do in this slapdash book is to rehash some old ideas about media and provide little support for his hasty and superficial analyses. Read morePublished on December 7, 2002
I use this book in my class on media and popular culture. It really stands as the most important book on media culture since McLuhan - and rivals his insights, at that. Read morePublished on September 4, 2001 by Don Simmons