Diary of a Digital Plague Year: Corona Culture, Serial TV and The Rise of The Streaming Services“With his latest masterwork, Dennis Broe confirms what some of us already knew: when it comes to parsing and interrogating popular culture, he has no peer.”-- Gerald Horne, author, Paul Robeson: The Artist as Revolutionary“Broe’s mastery of history, economics, and media let him provide details and insights that few other writers can match. These short, readable essays offer convincing explanations of the moment in which we live.”—Julia Lesage, Co-founder and editor of Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media“Dennis Broe is one of the most acute critics working today. He has an astounding capacity to reach beyond a specific medium to give us wide-ranging yet deep social, cultural, and economic contexts. Now he has turned his hand to the current, crippling conjuncture and its media manifestations. A triumph”—Toby Miller, author of A Covid Charter, a Better WorldForeward by Redacted Tonight’s Lee CampDiary of a Digital Plague Year is a blow-by-blow account of the phases of the 2020 confinement. It charts the changes in our lives not brought on but rather exacerbated and heightened by the coronavirus. Corona Culture is a digital culture extraordinaire for some, while for others it increased panic and even terror about being at work. The concentration here is on the changes wrought in a time startlingly not so dissimilar to Daniel Defoe’s recounting of the plague year in London in the 17th century, as our own neoliberal era in decline resounds with that of the raw, exploitative beginnings of industrial capitalism. The privileged site for this exploration is Serial TV and its new mode of delivery, the increased power and force of the streaming services as they attempt to dominate and perhaps throttle global television production.In that light the book offers in-depth analysis of the highs and lows of the year including: “John Brown’s Maid,” on the travesty that was The Good Lord Bird; “Coming Undone: The Limits of MeToo” and Nicole Kidman’s power walks in The Undoing; and “Battling ‘50s Apartheid One Monster at a Time” in the majestic Lovecraft Country and its equally savvy companion piece by the same showrunner Underground. The book also recounts the year in essays on film, art, books and Euro- and American Cultural Politics. It asks if there are ways of turning this new phase of Digital Disaster Capitalism into a more liberatory (Virtual) Road Ahead.Dennis Broe is a film, television, art and culture critic and Paris correspondent for Pacifica Radio in the U.S., Art District Radio in Paris, the British daily Morning Starand the websites Crime Time, Culture Matters and People’s World. He has taught television studies at the Sorbonne. His other books on television are Birth of the Binge: Serial TV and The End of Leisure and Maverick or How The West Was Lost.
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