Mediating Culture: The Politics of Representation


217 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography
ISBN 0-920717-85-3
DDC 302.23





Edited by William Anselmi and Kosta Gouliamos
Reviewed by T. Dan Gardner

T. Dan Gardner is a lawyer and social policy researcher in Port Moody,
British Columbia.


This collection on communications, culture, and politics is a good
example of the problems in academic publishing today. The tone is set
early on by the editors, who preface the essays with a
“counterpoint.” (They assert that introductions are
“paternalistic” and “authoritarian.”) The language of the
“counterpoint”—convoluted, jammed with jargon, and vague to the
point of meaninglessness—is carried through to the majority of essays
that follow, including the editors’ own contribution “Exclusionary
Representation: A Hegemonic Mediation.”

Many of the authors make sweeping statements with little or no
supporting argument. In a single paragraph, Robert Babe declares the
inadequacy of the entire Greek tradition of searching for rational laws.
Cornelius Castoriadis’s favorite phrase appears to be “as we all
know”; he uses it repeatedly in lieu of any evidence as he skips
lightly over extremely contentious statements. Two contributions seem
hopelessly lost. Noam Chomsky indulges in a nasty rant against George
Bush, while the painter Domenico D’Alessandro offers a bizarre
ramble—accompanied by a series of paintings—about ecology, the Gulf
War, and television. Denis Bachand’s essay is the collection’s
saving grace. In clear and convincing prose, he puts forward the
intriguing notion that advertising is filling the void left by poetry;
advertising, he claims, is the new transmitter of the semio-cultural
heritage of society.

Bachand’s contribution is the exception in a collection of essays
riddled with mind-numbing academic jargon; that this should occur in a
book in which the theme of communication plays a central role is
unintentionally ironic.


“Mediating Culture: The Politics of Representation,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 17, 2024,