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Make-Believe Media: The Politics of Entertainment

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  83 ratings  ·  12 reviews
In Make-believe Media, Parenti turns his eye to entertainment for an absorbing, challenging look at the way America’s “free and independent” television and film industries actually promote the ideas of the economic and political forces that control them.

Through thoughtful analysis of specific entertainment programs from family sitcoms to medical dramas, cartoons, and block
Paperback, 254 pages
Published November 15th 1991 by Cengage Learning (first published August 1st 1991)
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Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
About corporate control over the "entertainment" media. While it's impossible to say how important it is that these mostly transmit reactionary messages relative to other factors, the fact that it's basically impossible to distribute more emancipatory and progressive material certainly has an important effect on our cultural imaginations. The book contains a good analysis of individual (representative) content, plus explanations of how to look at films from a Marxist perspective. ...more
Jun 13, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to Simone by: Ben Prunty
This book wouldn't really illuminate anything new for people who have been watching TV and movies critically all along, but it is useful for those who haven't. My problem with it ( why three stars instead of more) is I feel like Parenti wrote it much the way I would have--angrily, with many generalizations. I don't pride myself on my analytical, dispassionate writing skills.
I'll quote some of what he says on the last few pages, which can sum up the book as a whole:

"The media rely mostly on viol
Vivek Singh
Feb 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is the book which taught me how to spot propaganda in even the most innocent looking Cinema. Very useful.
Jenn Mardini
“We’re being more than entertained.”
•Hollywood and TV are permeated with class, racial, gender and other political biases.
•Am I brainwashed by the media to think that individual efforts are preferable to collective action?
•For manipulation to be most effective, evidence of its presence should be nonexistent- beliefs, attitudes and values are more palatable/credible to an audience when they’re molded/reinforced by characters and plots vs when they’re preached by a newscasters for a particular ca
Joe Defiant
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great description of our "entertainment" media and their supposed non-political neutral output. It describes how our entertainment pushes a very narrow set of pro-business pro-american exceptionalism pro-imperialist ideas while giving the impression we not only have choice in what we consume but we are presented with a wide range of ideas which is false as shown in the book.
Full of historical context the book was written years ago so it only covers things until the 90's but since then media corp
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
A very thorough look at American media depictions of various cultures, races, gender, class, and distortions of historical and contemporary issues. We need a 2019 version however--much has changed in the past 20 years.
Alfonso Parada
C. Scott
Mar 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Michael Parenti is extremely important to me. His books and speeches have had a huge influence on my thinking and intellectual development. I love this man.

That said, this book is not among my favorites. It was good, entertaining, and insightful as all of Parenti's books are. He clearly demonstrates how the dominant paradigm in our culture - free market capitalism and militarism - insinuates itself into mass media. You're unlikely to ever notice unless you pause to critically analyze the subtex
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
BAM. A well rounded source that cover the HEART of the so-called (Great) American Hollywood. It even looks back at Representatives, On the Screen, AND Behind the Scenes. It opens the BLIND eyes of many who even today, may have (inherited) learned silent hatred but but all too deliberate. The many 'chaptered', examples throughout the book could also be read by actual TOPIC choice, however I strongly recommend the entire book that covers the NEWS, THEATER, FILM, etc., ..

Did I say, "NEWS"? Enjoy...
Oct 22, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Charmingly dated in a superficial way (like when he keeps calling remote controls "zappers") and a little repetitive but still very relevant to the state of the mass media today. Very readable and of course if you've heard him speak it's impossible to read this without hearing his cadence in your head. ...more
T.R. Locke
Aug 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely amazing book on the politics of the media in America. Eye-opening revelations from 1992 that are still true and relevant in 2011. The media is not only conservative, but has been leading our nation to war and serving conservative and corporate causes since its incarnation. Very gripping read. Well written. I'm now a fan of Michael Parenti. ...more
May 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: media
Excellent overview of the ideology and propaganda functions of all (pre-Internet) media - check out his recdommended film list.
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American political scientist, historian and culture critic.
Parenti is most known for his criticism of capitalism and American foreign policy. He holds a doctorate from Yale University.

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