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It's a common belief that the stories we encounter through mass media--whether
in video games, action movies, or political comedy skits on Saturday Night Live
--are just entertaining fantasies that have no tangible impact on our everyday
lives, attitudes, and choices. Not so, says Karen Dill in this lively and
provocative book. As much as we may want to deny it, the images, sounds, and
narratives that bombard us daily have ample power to alter our realities.
Dill, the author of the single-most-cited study on the effects of video-game
violence, draws on extensive research in social psychology to show not only the
myriad ways--for good and ill--that media influence us, but also why we resist
believing they do. Vibrantly written and packed with eye-opening examples from
everyday life, her wide-ranging analysis encompasses everything from gender and
racial stereotyping to social identity, domestic violence, and presidential
politics. She discusses the ways that super-thin models and actresses have
altered women's self-images, dissects the manipulative strategies of
advertising aimed at children and medical consumers, and explains how the "fake
news" of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report may offer more authentic and
incisive coverage than the cable channels and network newscasts. She also
assesses the growing importance of "new media" like text-messaging, blogs, and
Facebook in how we communicate and process information.
In a media-saturated society, Dill argues, understanding precisely how these
powerful forces affect us and learning how to deal with them are vital to the
very way we function as citizens. How Fantasy Becomes Reality shows what we can
do to move from the passenger's seat to the driver's seat as media consumers.