Media Madness: An Insider's Guide to Media


64 pages
Contains Index
ISBN 1-55337-175-5
DDC j302.23






Illustrations by Michael Cho

Christine Linge MacDonald, a past director of the Toronto & District
Parent Co-operative Preschool Corporation, is an elementary-school
teacher in Whitby, Ontario,


Today’s average child spends nearly four and a half hours each day
watching electronic media, such as computers, televisions, and video
games. Very likely, some time is also devoted to other media: radio,
newspapers, magazines, and comics. Educators wisely try to increase
students’ awareness of the methods and motivations behind the media,
so that each message can be examined for accuracy, hidden agendas,
manipulative content, and purpose. Dominic Ali examines these issues in
this colourful volume featuring multimedia consumer Max McLoon (an
awkward bird–boy hybrid), who is seen “buying into” many of the
goods and images marketed through the media. Max’s vulnerability
allows the reader to witness the consequences of an uncritical
acceptance of a media’s message.

Ali uses brisk humour to keep the reader on board in each of the six
major mass media: television (“Fighting for Eyeballs”), music (“CD
Cover Lover”), magazines (“Stealth Ads”), comic books (“Today
Comics, Tomorrow the World!”), newspapers (“Whose News?”), and
video games and the Internet (“Video Game Shame!”). Several “Try
This!” panels throughout the book suggest practical investigations
that children can undertake. However, Ali’s consistently cynical take
on media content (he mocks teen talk shows with his creation “Popular
Alpha Teen: Model Vanna Eetee interviews celebs and gossips about
ex-friends”) might be off-putting to his audience, who after all made
this media content popular in the first place. One senses that the
author intends to give all powerful media “a swift kick,” as he
advises in one of the “Try This” panels. Since this may indeed be
necessary to protect children, this book is recommended.


Ali, Dominic., “Media Madness: An Insider's Guide to Media,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 14, 2024,