By Matthew Eppinette, CBC New Media Manager
Thomas de Zengotita’s Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It is an exploration of the way in which media, broadly construed (“arts and artifacts that represent, that communicate”), impact the way in which we perceive both the world and ourselves. The author covers a number of topics, including the expansion of choices and options in every area of life, the extension of adolescence, the decline of heroes alongside the rise of celebrities, political apathy, busyness, and changing attitudes toward nature.
The development of mediating technologies is part of the project of modernity, and these technologies tend toward making everything optional. That is to say, events, experiences, and other aspects of life are being turned into nothing more than options. Choose them or don’t choose them. It doesn’t matter. Except when it does. What he terms “Justin’s Helmet Principle” dictates that some options — such as bicycle helmets for children — are less optional than others, because they clearly are such good ideas that no one would opt out of them.