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Addicted to Distraction: Psychological consequences of the modern Mass Media Paperback – 30 Jun 2014

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4.2 out of 5 stars 9 reviews from Amazon.com

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In this groundbreaking study, Bruce Charlton sheds brilliant light on fundamental features of our current situation. He develops Marshall McLuhan's insight that "the medium is the message" into a deeply illuminating account of the mass media as a self-sustaining techno-cultural system that absorbs the whole of human life into a virtual world of willfulness and unreality. Like Plato in his Myth of the Cave, he calls for each of us to turn away from flickering images and toward realities. We need to heed that call. --James Kalb: author of The Tyranny of Liberalism and Against Inclusiveness

Addicted to Distraction by Bruce G Charlton is a brilliant, pithy, and incisive analysis and condemnation of the modern mass media and its semipurposeful agenda of permanent revolution, permanent hysteria, and permanent chaos. His comments are as cutting as the scalpel of a surgeon performing an autopsy, and his insights a bright and clear as the merciless lights in an operating theater. Can a fish drown? Can it even notice the waters in which it lives and moves? No more than can we notice the totalitarian relativism of the modern mass media. The Mass Media is a roaring, grinding attention-grabbing machine which operates with no set purpose; except the purpose to subvert, uncreate, mock and destroy. It does not matter what the media destroys. Pointless subversion is the point of the media, and the medium is the message. By all means read and understand this book ... and then go out by yourself into the calm and silent wilderness for a year. --John C Wright, author and Nebula Award finalist

About the Author

Bruce Charlton is Professor of Theoretical Medicine, University of Buckingham, UK and Reader in Evolutionary Psychiatry, Newcastle University, UK. Prof Charlton researches widely in evolutionary psychology and psychiatry, and on the role of scientific consensus and social mechanisms in biomedical research. From 2003 to 2010 he was editor of Medical Hypotheses. He is also an editor of The Journal of Hypotheses in the Life Sciences.

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Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars 9 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book 16 Nov. 2014
By Richard Wickham - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is more than just a book about the media. Charlton forces you to question your metaphysical assumptions about the world and puts them in plain perspective. I am a regular blog reader of Bruce but, it was nice to have something of his in print form (more books Bruce!). Read this book, it will surely have an impact on the way you see the world.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars aha! 12 July 2014
By Dave - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
So that explains the group-think and banality of TV. I knew the media had some tie-in to social destruction, but this explains it.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great premise & conclusion dissipated by bad prose 11 Nov. 2014
By Joseph Rosario - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Concepts are solid. Elucidation and writing style not so much. I really wish this book was better written. Maybe it's the Kindle formatting, but just seems that the paragraph and sentence structure hit the senses a little too much like a stream of consciousness rant, when it obviously is not. Having a little more of a flowing and unfolding narrative prose-style, ie. Building on foundational premises and then structuring narrative from that to come to conclusions a little more wholistically would have really helped make this work more accessible and not so easily confused as yet another scholarly sounding breakdown of a bumper sticker rant.

Another bit to avoid I think is the unabashed card-showing by ham handedly using terms like "leftist", "new left", etc. without doing a bit more detailed (just a bit) treatment of these buzzwords.

So overall, an interesting, and through provoking read, but definitely could use some Neal Postman or Christopher Lasch (especially the latter) premises and conclusion handling tips.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You are Feeding Your Mind on High Fructose Corn Syrup 13 Nov. 2014
By Mr. Mandias - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
I thought it was a good, eye-opening book when I read it. But since then I keep thinking about it, and its changed the way I think, and the way I use media--so its better than good.

Four stars only because I give out five stars to world-shattering works of genius, and I'm not sure yet that this is one.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Perceptive Analysis of Mass Media Addiction 17 Nov. 2015
By NIZAR N NAKFOOR - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
"Addicted to Distraction" is a very serious endeavor by Bruce Charlton to expose the ways in which Mass Media penetrates society focusing mainly on its negative impact.

Upon serious contemplation, the reader will confirm the validity of many insights outlined in this book: "Step outside the Mass Media and you become boring, annoying, crazy – because we live in a world where common sense and personal experience are regarded as having not just zero validity; but are dangerous, and evidence of wickedness..." Very true. Aside from personal and business matters, doesn't most of our conversations or communications with others revolve around topics that are hot in Mass Media?

"In a world dominated by the Mass Media, everything is grist to the media mill, everything is up for exploitation, for hyping or for destruction, for building-up and tearing-down...." Very true. Try to remember an issue or event that was hot in the Mass Media few months or weeks and sometimes even days ago and you will find not only that its is ignored by Mass Media at the present time, but the topic has went into oblivion without a decisive conclusion on that topic. In most cases, We do not know now the final confirmed facts about a topic that was once dominating all Mass Media.

"In the Mass Media, Opinion takes the place of Reality. Opinion is treated as Reality; yet because Opinion is not reality, Opinion can be – and is – changed whenever it is expedient to change it... So in practice strong opinions are cycled and re-cycled, promoted then vilified, suppressed then revived, turned upside-down, combined and split into fragments." Could not be more true. Take a simple example about food and health. How many times what was vilified as an unhealthy food for years by Mass Media, turns out to be later a magic food very beneficial in fighting so and so disease where Mass Media will compete to sing its praises after bashing it for years. Scientific support for both sides of the story is a matter of opinion because upon further investigation one would most likely find that the evidence in both cases is inconclusive.

What I did not like in the book is the ideological stance of the Author. I did not understand what he meant by: "The ideology of the Mass Media is therefore simply a modern type of Leftism: more specifically New Leftism. By New Left I mean that the ideology of the Media is that of the post-1960s evolution and development of communism, socialism, progressivism and (US) Liberalism – the Leftism of Political Correctness." I think that the author has overstretched his analysis here because I personally believe that Left and Right in Politics is an outdated cliche that is no longer applicable nowadays. And although the author states that:" the Mass Media has no person in-control, no group of persons, not even an interest group..." the tone of voice across the book insinuates that Mass Media is being methodically exploited by the Left to accomplish a certain agenda.

Overall, it is a valuable book with a positive optimistic conclusion: "the good news is that the process of withdrawal is simple and the healing is spontaneous; because it is only the continuous high volume consumption of mass media that is keeping us sick. So, at root, the detox programme is merely a matter of Just. Say. No."

Nizar Nakfoor
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