Harper’s Magazine Cultural Critic Thomas de Zengotita Speaks Out on the Powerful Influence of Media in Our Lives

Thomas de Zengotita, anthropologist and author of "Mediated: The Hidden Effects of Media on People, Places, and Things" says we have all become actors starring in the movie of our own lives as seen through the lens of mass media. He will speak about contemporary culture, the effect of the media--television, advertising, and other media--on all our culture and lives.

NEW YORK (PRWEB) July 8, 2005 -- “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players,” wrote William Shakespeare more than 300 years ago. Today, cultural critic and Harper’s magazine contributing editor Thomas de Zengotita writes, “We are all method actors,” living in a “mediated” culture.

What does mediated mean? According to de Zengotita, mediation is the process by which reality is experienced through something else. He will be speaking about this and other themes in his new book, Mediated: The Hidden Effects of Media on People, Places, and Things (Bloomsbury, 2005), at Foxhollow Forum, Friday, August 19, as part of the Voices from the Edge speakers series sponsored by What Is Enlightenment? magazine. The event will mark de Zengotita’s first public appearance in the Berkshires.

De Zengotita perceives the technologically advanced, media-saturated West as a world composed of millions of individual “flattered selves,” each living in its own insulated “MeWorld.” He believes that this narcissism of epic proportion has been engendered and is constantly being nourished by media representations in all areas of our lives, from the most private (videos of one’s wedding and childbirth) to the most public (subway advertisements, television).

“Our minds are, as a matter of sheer quantitative fact, stocked with mediated entities,” he writes. “Ask yourself: is there anything you do that remains essentially unmediated, anything you don’t experience reflexively through some commodified representation of it? Birth? Marriage? Illness?”

Driven to unprecedented heights of self-consciousness, the postmodern individual’s quality of being, according to de Zengotita, is that of a method actor. In a culture saturated with media performances, one’s life is informed by representations of “life,” thereby becoming a subtly self-conscious performance. We have become, he says, “celebrities all, celebrities at last”—the knowing stars in the self-directed movies of our lives.

De Zengotita speaks with an easy brilliance, bringing both a sharp wit and an impressive depth to his critiques. For the past six years, he has been a contributor to Harper’s magazine, writing feature articles that delve into pop culture with the sort of intellectual rigor usually reserved for the lecture halls of academia. (He has, in fact, taught philosophy at New York University’s Draper Program for nearly a decade.) His style has always been to use the language and metaphor, the humor and spirit of contemporary culture as a kind of Trojan horse for his philosophical ideas, and this new book is no exception.

The evening will begin at 7:30pm and include a talk and audience Q&A, followed by a reception/book signing with Mr. de Zengotita. Tickets: $15; students $7, available online at www.mktix.com and at the door. For more information, log on to www.wie.org/voices or call 413.637.6000. Reservations strongly recommended since space is limited.

Thomas De Zengotita is available for interviews through Hope Cohen 413.637.6060.

EnlightenNext is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to furthering the evolution of human consciousness. It produces a variety of programs and products devoted to fulfilling its mission, including an international speakers series called Voices from the Edge, an accredited Master's Degree in Conscious Evolution, and online studies, seminars, and retreats worldwide. EnlightenNext's publishing arm, EnlightenNext Media, produces educational websites, books, audios, and videos relating to the teachings of Evolutionary Enlightenment, as well as the award-winning magazine What Is Enlightenment? since 1991, and a multimedia website of audios and videos from today’s leading thinkers in business, politics, environmental issues, science, spirituality, and contemporary culture. EnlightenNext is headquartered in Lenox, MA.

Hope Cohen
413 637 6060
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Source :  http://www.prweb.com/releases/2005/7/prweb257741.htm