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Whether or not readers are familiar with the concept of presentism-the theory that society is more focused on the immediacy of the moment in front of them (actually more specifically on the moment that just passed) than the moment before or, perhaps more importantly, the future-they've certainly felt the increasing pressure of keeping up with various methods of communication, be it texting, Web surfing, live interactions, or a litany of other media for staying "connected." Using Alvin Toffler's concept of "future shock" as a jumping-off point, media theorist Douglas Rushkoff (Cyberia; Get Back in the Box; Media Virus; etc.) deftly weaves in a number of disparate concepts (the Home Shopping Network, zombies, Kurzweil's Law of Accelerating Returns, Internet mashups, hipsters' approximation of historical ephemera as irony, etc.) to examine the challenge of keeping up with technological advances as well as their ensuing impact on culture and human relations in a world that's always "on." By highlighting five areas (the rise of moronic reality TV; our need to be omnipresent; the need to compress time in order to achieve our goals; the compulsion to connect unrelated concepts in an effort to make better sense of them; and a gnawing sense of one's obsolescence), Rushkoff gives readers a healthy dose of perspective, insight, and critical analysis that's sure to get minds spinning and tongues wagging. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Living in a world of perpetually updated Internet news bulletins and cell phones primed for the latest text messages from friends and family, many of us feel pressured to keep up with all the latest gossip and information trends. Our past and future have become less important than staying current with whatever is happening now, an attitude toward time that philosophers call presentism. Using Future Shock, Alvin Toffler's classic study of runaway technological growth, as a jumping-off place, prolific author and media expert Rushkoff cites presentism as one of the dominant fixations of our era. With abundant fodder from reality-TV shows, Twitter, blogs, and the Home Shopping Network, the information glut, Rushkoff points out, includes a mash-up of past, present, and future references that's both confusing and misleading. Rushkoff highlights several areas of social dis-ease, including our obsessive need to be everywhere and do everything at once, and a curious predilection for apocalyptic entertainment. A sobering wake-up call to collectively reexamine our relationship with time before we're blindsided by an unwelcome future.--Hays, Carl Copyright 2010 Booklist