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Mediated: Hidden Efx of Media On People, Places

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"Me" culture

We are what we buy at the mall, see at the multiplex, and hear on our iPods. And that's a good thing. Author Thomas De Zengotita discusses our new "Mediated" life.

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By James Westcott

March 4, 2005  |  Let's say you like cats. When you visit a friend's house and he happens to have a cat, you make a big deal about stroking it, picking it up, talking to it. And you do the same thing with every cat you encounter. It demonstrates to the people around you that you're a sensitive, sympathetic, tactile person. All these things are true of you, including your innate adoration of cats. But that doesn't mean to say you haven't cultivated your cat-fancying into a self-conscious, gushing performance that somehow represents you. This doesn't make you a phony; it makes you something else: mediated.

This example of naturalized performance -- and the appropriated friendly prose style, forgiving and scathing in equal measure -- is Thomas De Zengotita's, and it's one of many painfully familiar and riotously entertaining tidbits in his new book, "Mediated: The Hidden Effects of Media on People, Places, and Things." De Zengotita, who teaches philosophy and anthropology at New York University, has mined 30 years of private study and writings to form a theory -- a phenomenology, actually -- of human behavior in a postmodern world overflowing with exhaustingly flattering media representations and endless choices about what kind of person you want to be, but also with the strange demand, always, to be yourself. The result, De Zengotita says, is that we are all mediated, all "method actors" -- again, not phonies, but experts at expressing our authenticity in a performative way.

Read the full book review at Salon.com:



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i'm halfway through...good stuff (i hate consumerism but i love to read about it).

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interesting article dude.....interesting slant on things.... :)

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