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Socialist Polemics on War, Propaganda and Popular Culture

Click for a large cover of HOT PLANET, COOL MEDIA.

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 treatment 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 like the debate between Jordan Peterson and 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 teaches Media Studies in the School of Film, Media and Communication at the University of Portsmouth, UK. His research has addressed the media representation of mental health as well as television and film images of war, conflict and trauma.

He has written numerous journal articles and book chapters 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).

Published in the UK by Clairview Books, 21 April 2023

£14.99; 226pp; 23.5 x 15.5 cm; paperback; ISBN 9781912992478