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The News: A User's Manual Hardcover – February 11, 2014
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To check on the news via paper or myriad electronic devices is “to raise a shell to our ears and to be overpowered by the roar of humanity,” asserts philosopher de Botton. Exploring the media conceit that it brings its readers, listeners, viewers only the facts, de Botton argues that what we need is the truth, something more nuanced than the facts. To make his point, he offers a collage of headlines and news items from various sources and ponders how they fit into the grander scheme of the human condition. His quirky collection touches on economics, geopolitics, violence, celebrities, and disasters. Short and pithy essays drill down beneath the news item to the general absurdity of life and observations of how the media is constantly feeding us information without real context. Interspersed throughout are references to art, literature, and culture and their more enduring messages in contrast to the impression left by the news of a desperate lack of humanity. This is a thought-provoking look at the impact of news on culture and individuals. --Vanessa Bush
“Short and pithy essays drill down beneath the news item to the general absurdity of life and observations of how the media is constantly feeding us information without real context. Interspersed throughout are references to art, literature, and culture and their more enduring messages in contrast to the impression left by the news of a desperate lack of humanity. This is a thought-provoking look at the impact of news on culture and individuals.” —Vanessa Bush, Booklist
“Known for his wide-ranging curiosity and penchant for philosophical musing, the author of How Proust Can Change Your Life, Religion for Atheists, and The Art of Travel has turned his attention to the news. This branch of the media that incorporates everything from war to celebrities getting pizza is almost omnipresent in our lives, and de Botton here examines how that affects us and how much longer the news can get bigger.” —The Millions, Most Anticipated: The Great 2014 Book Preview
“de Botton examines excerpts of contemporary news, mixing them with philosophical observations about the impact the news has on us, why we rely on it so heavily, and how it impacts the way in which we see the world.” —Huffington Post
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Top Customer Reviews
I am greatly concerned (now even on PBS and National Public Radio) with the widespread emphasis on victims and villains, coupled with a sports mentality (win/lose, points gained, etc.) and agendas shaped by "if it bleeds it leads." Find a victim - preferably with a face or at least voice - apply ideology to identify the villain, and create the "story." Much of the "news" now is entertainment, evidently more profitable and/or popular than truly educational reporting. Much of the public seems to be getting exactly what they want, albeit trash in my estimation. How can we overcome this hurdle (that they are getting what they want)?
I'm glad I read the book but it was dissapointing towards the end.