By William K. Shrader
This impassioned critique of contemporary mass culture argues that media, particularly television as the spearhead of the electronic media, contributes to the pervasive demoralization of the American public. By sending the public a stream of enticing, essentially unattainable illusions, the media produces what Shrader calls the "experiential bind," a phenomenon rooted in the incongruity between the two realms of vicarious and first-hand experience. The internalized bind causes a chronically irritated self-ideal--producing morbid guilt. This condition is familiar to mental health specialists, and is frequently invoked to explain the erratic and socially destructive behavior patterns of the mentally ill.