Like, For Real
April 12, 2005 10:45 AM   Subscribe

What's the difference between reality and unreality? In real life you have no options. It's like when JFK is assassinated and you're in a method acting class, trying to become a mourning American citizen. Thomas De Zengotita's (reality is so passé) new book is out.
posted by prozaction (8 comments total)
So there's a new book out. Huh.
posted by Specklet at 12:01 PM on April 12, 2005

read the website, Speck, there are many good things there. I like the pdfs on the right side discussing the usage of the words awesome, like and whatever. Very interesting and new ideas to me. Also it is apparently going to be a blog w/ podcasts. So there is more than a book, and this book is more than just some book in a lot of ways. So, yeah.
posted by n9 at 12:13 PM on April 12, 2005

I stand corrected. Please forgive my snark.
posted by Specklet at 12:23 PM on April 12, 2005

I read the snippets of common slang interpretation, and found them interesting. But like so much social science, I am not exactly sure where to go from there. What is he really saying? Is it anything new? Will it effect my actions in the future? He seems like a canny observer of culture, but a lot of this seems so meta that it doesnt really mean anything. What can we do with this information besides absorb it?

It is unclear what his actual premise is from the intro/ first chapter. He says that basically we are all performing. Nothing new there, ancient civilizations such as the Greeks were obsessed with the line between performace and reality. He says some stuff about how in reality we are small and insignifigant but the Dreaded Media has made us all Kings and we feel like the world revolves around us. Partially true, but people have been self-centered pricks since we crawled out of the mud. As much as I would love to have a stimulating conversation on this stuff, it all seems like postmodern BS spiffed up with hipster anecdotes and long, academic-sounding words.
posted by sophist at 4:34 PM on April 12, 2005

good post, thanks. I'm reading De Zengotita right now and it's good, good stuff, even if he's somewhat obliged to oversimplify the very complicated process of mediation
posted by matteo at 6:01 PM on April 12, 2005

heh . . . I'm currently writing a review of Mediated for the campus magazine. Which was due an hour ago, but whatever.

Yeah, the book's solid as a rock. I can't remember the last time I blew through non-fiction as quickly as I did with this. I do wish he'd have backed it up with footnotes, though: there's a decent amount of stuff I'd like to double-check in the book.

But yeah, read it, read it, read it. It's funny and thought-provoking, even when it seems really weird.
posted by thecaddy at 6:14 PM on April 12, 2005

Chuck Palahniuk touched on this in Invisible Monsters. He writes that we're all God now, if God is distant, passive, and just chooses what to watch. We are God at the TV set. It's an entertaining passage, though not groundbreaking.
posted by NickDouglas at 7:06 PM on April 12, 2005

FYI, de Zengotita posts to the message board on his website.
posted by prozaction at 1:58 PM on April 22, 2005

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