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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seminal Book On Media Theory, Memetics, Postmodern Culture
Since its release in 1994, 'Media Virus' has become Douglas Rushkoff's most influential and most popular book.
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,...
Published on April 19, 1999 by Alex Burns (alex.burns@disinfo...

versus
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Are you infected by a Media Virus?
While some academics still worry about people watching television, Douglass Rushkoff celebrates the power of individuals to create their own media presence in "Media Virus."
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...
Published on January 27, 2000 by Eric H. Roth


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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seminal Book On Media Theory, Memetics, Postmodern Culture, April 19, 1999
This review is from: Media Virus! Hidden Agendas in Popular Culture (Paperback)
Since its release in 1994, 'Media Virus' has become Douglas Rushkoff's most influential and most popular book.
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!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Are you infected by a Media Virus?, January 27, 2000
This review is from: Media Virus! Hidden Agendas in Popular Culture (Paperback)
While some academics still worry about people watching television, Douglass Rushkoff celebrates the power of individuals to create their own media presence in "Media Virus."
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.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The book that unwillingly created a new trend in advertising, November 2, 2002
This review is from: Media Virus! Hidden Agendas in Popular Culture (Paperback)
The information in this book, while it was written, was used primarily by artists. The whole concept of a media virus is basically twofold. 1)To make a subversive or controversial message (meme) seam innocent, harmless, or impotent. 2) To make that same message propagate itself through some means, including that very same controversy that you originally try to hide. Intrusion and propagation. Injection and infection. Just like a real virus, or a computer virus, only a media virus is a mind virus, a mental image, sound, slogan, event, or whatever, that gets into your head, stays there, and spreads itself by means of your mouth and vocal chords.
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.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars memes in a candy shell, July 28, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Media Virus! (Hardcover)
_Media Virus! Hidden Agendas in Popular Culture_ by Douglas Rushkoff is about the manipulative influence
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.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but flawed, September 6, 1999
This review is from: Media Virus! Hidden Agendas in Popular Culture (Paperback)
This book has some interesting analysis of television programming and political campaigns but fails with attempts to compare pop culture and chaos theory. In this regard the author misunderstands fractals and confuses feedback (the cycling of an output back into its original source) with ordinary propagation (the progress of an output to successive new points). Since the chaos "virus," to use the author's terms, pervades the book, this is a serious flaw in my opinion.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If media is a pathogen then intelligence is the immunogen., November 13, 2006
By 
David Howse "David Howse" (Calgary, Alberta, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Media Virus! Hidden Agendas in Popular Culture (Paperback)
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. I now find myself perusing a marketing degree and some of Rushkoff's theories and now common place. Just a couple months ago, a Wal-Mart sponsored marketing firm was outed as the creators of a phoney online discussion group (gorilla marketing/propaganda) or as Rushkoff would have described it "genetic engineering" (turning a beast into a concerned citizen).

When media virus was written there wasn't much of an Internet (as we know it) but the same ideas were in place. It some ways Rushkoff is a futurist in the line of Faith Popcorn or Ryan Mathews. Instead of offering predictions, Rushkoff leans toward merely understanding the psychological or anthropological side of media - the tools of futurists.

I strongly suggest any one who reads this book to watch Noam Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent and vice versa.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Blend of Chaos, Marketing, & Systems Theories, October 2, 2009
By 
This review is from: Media Virus! Hidden Agendas in Popular Culture (Paperback)
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, then this book is for you. What first brought my attention to this book was that it has been referenced as one of the first to reference and explain the concept of viral marketing. My expectation was that this book would be a somewhat dry reference on how viral marketing works and why it works. It does accomplish both of these objectives, however the material is far from dry and is really fascinating.

I am amazed at how the author ties the subjects of viral marketing, systems thinking, and chaos theory together in a seamless manner to thoroughly explain workings of the media and how it has evolved since inception. What is even more amazing is that this book is easy to understand, is entertaining to read and was written about 15 years ago. The author was well ahead of his time. Although this book is long at over 300 pages - it does take some level of commitment, but well worth the time and effort. This is the first book I have read by this author but look forward to reading others!
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars McLuhan for the 21st Century, July 27, 2004
By 
Sam I Am (Somerville, MA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Media Virus! Hidden Agendas in Popular Culture (Paperback)
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 site.

It's a shame, because this is probably Rushkoff's best book - at least his most important one. It put him on the map as today's most significant media theorist, while being simple enough for pretty much anyone to understand.

The point of the book is that seemingly innocuous or culturally insignificant media nonetheless contain the most pressing ideas and constructs of a given age. So Rushkoff deconstructs media iconography from Beavis and Butt-head to Michael Jackson, showing the underlying cultural agenda beneath them - not beneath them, but within them.

If the book seems unoriginal now, some ten years after it was first published, that's because this is the book that LAUNCHED these ideas. Ever hear of "viral marketing"? That came from this guy.

Look at his documentary on the Frontline website called "The Merchants of Cool" if you want to see how his thinking developed, and got a bit cooler on these developments.

But definitely read Media Virus if you want to understand all the thinking and advertising that came from it.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ineffectiously Infectious, November 14, 2006
This review is from: Media Virus! Hidden Agendas in Popular Culture (Paperback)
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 SIMPSONS, BEAVIS AND BUTTHEAD, REN & STIMPY SHOW, MURPHY BROWN, LA LAW, COPS; political and celebrity personalities like the BUSH's, BILL CLINTON, WILLIAM BORROUGHS, PHIL DONAHUE, RUSH LIMBOUGH, PEEWEE HERMAN (Paul Reubens), THE JACKSONS, MADONNA, ICE T, and even quite peculiar for me even the whole controversy with one of my personal faves U2 over the legal frictions with a parody band called NEGATIVLAND (which is rather more documented on the documentary feature flick of the said group) and even more so about the band that I often refer to - JESUS JONES regarding their music video for their perrenial track "Right Here Right Now" and the advent of MTV's outbreak with the likes of music videos from A-HA; BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN; and even more so mentioning the likes of `wanna-whats' like R.U. SERIOUS, and the cult of Genesis P-Orrige called THEE TEMPLE OV PSYCHIC YOUTH - the book nearly gives an impression that the author is culture-shocked, and proposed to infect likewise with the `memes' (ie. A term used by the author to refer about the certain data/info's that are being assimilated n=by the media which in turn affects to influence the masses, at least in the way I understood it and could simply put it) it presents to expose - however, the whole matter is subject to the particular perspective preference of the readers personal comprehension.

The book is said to have been "revised and updated" from a two-year's span by 1996 - even seems quite un-innovative even from that time, and most of the authors' analysis are nothing new. Rushkoff, although being quite informative nevertheless from time to time with the book only seem to mainly dwell on a surface level, when what we need is to see more of the primal motivating factors behind the dissemination of counter-culture trends and ideas which Rushkoff attempted to disseminate within the length of his work.
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6 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Important Book on Media of the Past Ten Years, September 4, 2001
This review is from: Media Virus! Hidden Agendas in Popular Culture (Paperback)
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. I see one of the home-critics above has criticized Rushkoff for using the word 'media' as a singular verb, as if this were some sort of misprint. In fact, Rushkoff spends several pages explaining how the media needs to be treated as a single entity. It is an organism, with properties and behaviors all its own.
This is a groundbreaking work of media criticism, and a must-read for anyone trying to make sense of media today.
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Media Virus! Hidden Agendas in Popular Culture
Media Virus! Hidden Agendas in Popular Culture by Douglas Rushkoff (Paperback - February 6, 1996)
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