After years of tweaking and shopping the proposal, Zero Books has acquiesced to publish my book The Medium Picture. The thing that sold me on them, other than their recent publishing of Steven Shaviro‘s brief-but-brilliant Post-Cinematic Affect, is their statement of purpose:
Contemporary culture has eliminated the concept and public figure of the intellectual. A cretinous anti-intellectualism presides, cheerled by hacks in the pay of multinational corporations who reassure their bored readers that there is no need to rouse themselves from their stupor. Zer0 Books knows that another kind of discourse — intellectual without being academic, popular without being populist — is not only possible: it is already flourishing. Zer0 is convinced that in the unthinking, blandly consensual culture in which we live, critical and engaged theoretical reflection is more important than ever before.
While I can’t completely agree with such a dismal view of contemporary society, I couldn’t state my purposes as a writer any better than that.
The Medium Picture is a history of the future of our relationship with technology. Technological mediation has changed and continues to change our relationships with each other, our information, time, space, and ourselves. It isn’t going to go away. In fact, it’s only going to become more pervasive. The Medium Picture explores these relationships at all levels, from language and literature to television and cell-phones. It’s about mediation, not just technology: It’s about the ripple, not the rock. That is, it’s about the process we undergo with our tools and toys. It calls attention to the effects of ever-expanding mediation and urges the reader to be more mindful of what constitutes authentic experience. It isn’t about relying on technology less, but it is about what relying on it means.
Given their commitment to critical and engaged theoretical reflection, I am happy to announce that I signed The Medium Picture to Zero Books.
Thank you all for your continued interest and support,
And many thanks to the early readers of this material. I’ll never remember everyone, but here are some helpful folks who read early drafts of the proposal and gave invaluable notes and advice: David Patterson, Mark Wieman, Alex Burns, Steven Shaviro, David Barker, David Miller, Matt Schulte, Kristen Sensenig, Matt Bialer, Rebecca Oliver, Kasey Pfaff, Micheal Schandorf, Doug Sery, Erik Davis, John Brockman, Max Brockman, Jason Weidemann, John Oakes, and Doug Rushkoff.