Description : From the far left to the far right, on talk radio and the op-ed page, more and more Americans believe that the social fabric is unraveling. Celebrity worship and media frenzy, suicidal cultists and heavily armed secessionists: modern life seems to have become a "pyrotechnic insanitarium," Mark Dery says, borrowing a turn-of-the-century name for Coney Island. Dery elucidates the meaning to our madness, deconstructing American culture from mainstream forces like Disney and Nike to fringe phenomena like the Unabomber and alien invaders. Our millennial angst, he argues, is a product of a pervasive cultural anxiety-a combination of the social and economic upheaval wrought by global capitalism and the paranoia fanned by media sensationalism. The Pyrotechnic Insanitarium is a theme-park ride through the extremes of American culture of which The Atlantic Monthly has written, "Mark Dery confirms once again what writers and thinkers as disparate as Nathanael West, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Sigmund Freud, and Oliver Sacks have already shown us: the best place to explore the human condition is at its outer margins, its pathological extremes."
Description : Techno-heaven or techno-hell? If you believe many scientists working in the emerging fields of twenty-first-century technology, the future is blissfully bright. Initially, human bodies will be perfected through genetic manipulation and the fusion of human and machine; later, human beings will completely shed the shackles of pain, disease, and even death, as human minds are downloaded into death-free robots whereby they can live forever in a heavenly "posthuman" existence. In this techno-utopian future, humanity will be saved by the godlike power of technology. If you believe the authors of science fiction, however, posthuman evolution marks the beginning of the end of human freedom, values, and identity. Our dark future will be dominated by mad scientists, rampaging robots, killer clones, and uncontrollable viruses. In this timely new book, Daniel Dinello examines "the dramatic conflict between the techno-utopia promised by real-world scientists and the techno-dystopia predicted by science fiction." Organized into chapters devoted to robotics, bionics, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, biotechnology, nanotechnology, and other significant scientific advancements, this book summarizes the current state of each technology, while presenting corresponding reactions in science fiction. Dinello draws on a rich range of material, including films, television, books, and computer games, and argues that science fiction functions as a valuable corrective to technological domination, countering techno-hype and reflecting the "weaponized, religiously rationalized, profit-fueled" motives of such science. By imaging a disastrous future of posthuman techno-totalitarianism, science fiction encourages us to construct ways to contain new technology, and asks its audience perhaps the most important question of the twenty-first century: is technology out of control?
Description : The author explores the darkest corners of the American psyche--including the sexual fantasies of Star Trek fans, the hidden agendas of IQ tests, the homoerotic subtext of professional football, the poetic aspects of spam email and much more.
Description : A collaboration of political activism and participatory culture seeking to upend consumer capitalism, including interviews with The Yes Men, The Guerrilla Girls, among others. Coined in the 1980s, “culture jamming” refers to an array of tactics deployed by activists to critique, subvert, and otherwise “jam” the workings of consumer culture. Ranging from media hoaxes and advertising parodies to flash mobs and street art, these actions seek to interrupt the flow of dominant, capitalistic messages that permeate our daily lives. Employed by Occupy Wall Street protesters and the Russian feminist punk band Pussy Riot alike, culture jamming scrambles the signal, injects the unexpected, and spurs audiences to think critically and challenge the status quo. The essays, interviews, and creative work assembled in this unique volume explore the shifting contours of culture jamming by plumbing its history, mapping its transformations, testing its force, and assessing its efficacy. Revealing how culture jamming is at once playful and politically transgressive, this accessible collection explores the degree to which culture jamming has fulfilled its revolutionary aims. Featuring original essays from prominent media scholars discussing Banksy and Shepard Fairey, foundational texts such as Mark Dery’s culture jamming manifesto, and artwork by and interviews with noteworthy culture jammers including the Guerrilla Girls, The Yes Men, and Reverend Billy, Culture Jamming makes a crucial contribution to our understanding of creative resistance and participatory culture.
Description : Traces the history and development of American amusement parks, and explores the social, cultural, and economic influences on the industry's development
Description : Bringing together some of the most exhilarating writing from the "Voice Literary Supplement, War of the Words" delivers a fresh and complex new perspective.