Episode 40 - Douglas Rushkoff

Winner of the Media Ecology Association’s first Neil Postman award for Career Achievement in Public Intellectual Activity, Dr. Douglas Rushkoff is an author, teacher, and documentarian who focuses on the ways people, cultures, and institutions create, share, and influence each other’s values. He is Professor of Media Theory and Digital Economics at CUNY/Queens, technology and media commentator for CNN, digital literacy advocate for Codecademy.com and a lecturer on media, technology, culture and economics around the world.

His new book, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus: How Growth Became the Enemy of Prosperity, argues that we have failed to build the distributed economy that digital networks are capable of fostering, and instead doubled down on the industrial age mandate of growth above all. His previous best-selling books on media and popular culture have been translated to over thirty languages. They include Present Shock: When Everything Happens NowProgram or Be Programmed: Ten Commands for a Digital Age, a followup to his Frontline documentary, Digital Nation, and Life Inc, an analysis of the corporate spectacle, which was also made into a short, award-winning film.

His other books include CyberiaMedia VirusPlaying the FutureNothing Sacred: The Truth about JudaismGet Back in the Box: Innovation from the Inside Out and Coercion, winner of the Marshall Mcluhan Award for best media book. Rushkoff also wrote the acclaimed novels Ecstasy Club and Exit Strategy and graphic novel, Club Zero-G. He wrote the graphic novels Testament and A.D.D., for Vertigo.

He has written and hosted three award-winning PBS Frontline documentaries – The Merchants of Cool looked at the influence of corporations on youth culture, The Persuaders, about the cluttered landscape of marketing, and new efforts to overcome consumer resistance, and Digital Nation, about life on the virtual frontier. Most recently, he made Generation Like, an exploration of teens, marketers, and social media.

He has been awarded a Fullbright Scholarship, and Senior Fellowships by the Markle Foundation, the Center for Global Communications, and the International University of Japan. He served as an Advisor to the United Nations Commission on World Culture and regularly appears on TV shows from NBC Nightly News and Larry King to the Colbert Report and Bill Maher. He developed the Electronic Oracle software series for HarperCollins Interactive.

In this episode, we talk about how he sees the purpose of Judaism is to help one transcend Judaism, the psycho-social peril of living in the digital now, and how the new media empires has failed to build the distributed economy that digital networks are capable of fostering, and instead doubled down on the industrial age mandate of growth above all. 

I got to talk to one of my heroes, and this show made it possible. Thanks OTBR listeners. You make it all possible. Enjoy!