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Book Review: 'Media Virus!: Hidden Agendas in Popular Culture'

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Media Virus!: Hidden Agendas in Popular Culture

Current Status:
In Season
Douglas Rushkoff
Television, Pop Culture

We gave it a B

Think you have finally conquered cyberspace? There’s something even bigger out there called the ”datasphere,” and culture critic Rushkoff is attempting to get a handle on it. Hurtling along the suddenly ubiquitous ”information superhighway,” he assumes a basic readerly knowledge of the tangle that encompasses cable, fiber optics, the Internet, and smart drugs. Rushkoff pauses at rest stops on the way only long enough to look at the messages that are actually and actively traveling the roads via their various media. It’s a lot of fun when he examines just how subversive and psychedelic shows like Ren & Stimpy, Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, The Simpsons, and Liquid Television are: Sticking with a tangible medium helps Rushkoff get his message across. But when he describes hanging out with proselytizing society dropouts who are living outside the media mainstream, he loses focus — as if he’d gotten out of his car for a candy bar, and forgot where he parked. This book is an opening look at paradigm shifts that are occurring as we read — or log on, or whatever. Rushkoff, however, pulls off the road a little too soon. B