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Against The Machine


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About the Author

Lee Siegel is the author of the essay collections Falling Upwards and Not Remotely Controlled. In 2002 he received the National Magazine Award for Reviews and Criticism. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.


Siegel, a controversial former blogger and past art critic, provides a fascinating look at how the Internet is reshaping the way we think about ourselves and the world. Siegel explores how the Internet affects culture and social life, particularly the psychological, emotional and social cost of high-tech solitude. Arguing that the Internet's widespread anonymity eliminates boundaries, Siegel discusses the half-fantasy, half-realism of online personas. Internet pornography, Siegel intones, collapses public and private, transforming others into the instrument of the viewer's will. By experiencing virtual selves rather than other individuals, a danger arises: people run the risk of being reduced to personas that other Internet users manipulate toward their own ends. Insightful and well written with convincing evidence to support Siegel's polemic, this book is a welcome addition to the debate on the personal ramifications of living in a wired world. (Jan.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

One of the country's most eloquent and acid-tongued cultural critics. -- Deborah Solomon * New York Times *
The worldwide web is, for Siegel, essentially an optical illusion, an infinite hall of mirrors in which atomised, self-broadcasting individuals are really just staring at themselves * Prospect *
This witty and intelligent polemic looks at how being online makes us more disconnected. * Scotland on Sunday *
One of the heroic few. * Guardian *
To read him is to be reminded of what criticism used to aspire to in terms of range, learning, high standards, and good writing and - dare one say it? - values. -- David Rieff
In every case, Siegel is wildly and satisfyingly unpredictable. -- Janet Malcolm
Savour his vigorous prose, and prepare to be surprised -- Pete Hammill
Siegel is a zigzagging cultural omnivore... a confrontational enthusiast... an expert demolisher of critical group-think * New York Observer *

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