Electronic Hearth: Creating an American Television Culture

Cecelia Tichi, Author Oxford University Press, USA $29.95 (272p) ISBN 978-0-19-506549-7
Television is so deeply embedded in American culture that, in Tichi's view, it has brought about a ``momentous cognitive change'': the on-screen world ratifies existence. Politicians, actors and other ``simulated heroes'' of TV are elevated into specious authority figures. The author, a professor of English at Vanderbilt, maps the average viewer's ``teleconsciousness,'' which begins with a ``continuous reprioritizing of attention in the habitat of the `always on' TV.'' She traces the postwar role of television in promoting such values as individualism, domesticity and Cold War patriotism. Drawing on writers--Donald Barthelme, DeLillo, Kosinski--and on cartoons, ads and rock music, she illuminates the pervasive influence of the ``TV hearth'' on personal behavior. This sophisticated, McLuhanesque study bristles with fresh insights. Illustrations not seen by PW. (July)
Reviewed on: 09/30/1991
Release date: 10/01/1991
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