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Hot Planet, Cool Media

Socialist Polemics on War, Propaganda and Popular Culture

July 2023
More details
  • Publisher
    Clairview Books
  • Published
    18th July 2023
  • ISBN 9781912992478
  • Language English
  • Pages 226 pp.
  • Size 6" x 9.25"

From the Arab Spring and London riots through the era of Brexit and Trump, the Covid-19 pandemic and war in Europe, this volume collects eleven years of lively, informative, and entertaining essays and polemics, focusing on media treatments of major world events, political entanglements, and culture-war squabbles.

Taking aim at the distortions and omissions of news reports and cultural narratives in the Western world, Stephen Harper highlights the dislocation between humanity’s existential crisis and the failure of the corporate media to register its underlying causes—or even to entertain any real discussion of its solution. Instead, he argues, the media blithely serve the narrow interests of a global elite that is subjecting the planet to a reign of fire in the form of endless wars and ecological destruction.

Harper reviews contemporary journalistic, cinematic and televisual coverage, engaging with broad cultural topics such as “cancel culture,” the “incel” phenomenon and Covid conspiracy theories, as well as key events such as the debate between the Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson and the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek.

For all its eclecticism, Hot Planet, Cool Media has an ideological cohesiveness, rejecting popular left and right political positions and advocating the cause of socialism or communism in the Marxian sense of a classless, leaderless, moneyless society.

Stephen Harper

Stephen Harper teaches Media Studies in the School of Film, Media, and Communication at University of Portsmouth in England. His research has addressed the media representation of mental health, as well as television and cinematic images of war, conflict, and trauma. He has written extensively on these and other subjects and is the author of several books, including Madness, Power and the Media (Palgrave, 2009); Beyond the Left: The Communist Critique of the Media (Zero Books, 2012) and Screening Bosnia: Geopolitics, Gender and Nationalism in Film and Television Images of the 1992–95 War (Bloomsbury, 2017).