What gives the mass media, particularly advertising and television, their extraordinary power over our lives, so that even the most jaded and sophisticated among us are troubled and fascinated by their allure? The secret, according to Richard Stivers, in this brilliant new book, lies in the curious relationship between technology and magic. Stivers argues the two are now related to one another in such a way that each has taken on important characteristics of the other. His contention is that our expectations for technology have become magical to the point that they have generated a multitude of imitation technologies that function as magical practices. These imitation technologies flourish in the fields of psychology, management administration, and the mass media, and their paramount purpose in human adjustment and control. Advertising and television programs, in particular, contain the key magical rituals of our civilization.In a fascinating analysis of television programming, Stivers shows how various genres--news, sports, game shows, soap operas, sitcoms, etc.--have their distinct mythological symbols. Through dramatized information, they symbolically connect consumer goods and services to desired outcomes--the utopian goals of success, happiness, and health--thus enveloping technology, both real and imitation, in a magical cocoon.
Brand: Bloomsbury Academic
Used Book in Good Condition
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If you've ever seen the "punk" magicians, Penn and Teller, you know that a lot of their act is about showing you how the trick is done, then, as a topper, finishing the trick in some new way that takes the trick to some new level of mystification. TECHNOLOGY AS MAGIC is a lot like that, but this final topper is your own recognition that you've been a mark and a sucker, and that you will continue to be a mark and a sucker until you turn off the TV, throw away the paper, and start spreading the word about empty incantationsof the government, media, and marketers that have robbed us of clarity in thinking and blurred our moral sensibilities. If you've ever had to write administrative tripe and felt queasy doing so, if you've ever had to devise an apologia to convince management to proceed with some new action system and knew all along that you were only supplying a rationale to make the powers-that-be breathe easier, if you've ever had to generalize about a heterogenous...
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