10 March 2011
Todd Gitlin is a notable author born in New York City. He attended the University of California at Berkeley, where he received a PhD in sociology and was heavily involved in the Students for a Democratic Society group. Gitlin is now a professor at New York University where he teaches culture, journalism, and sociology. Gitlin’s selection, Supersaturation, or, The Media Torrent and Disposable Feeling, comes from his book Media Unlimited: How the Torrent of Images and Sounds Overwhelms Our Lives (2001). In this selection, Gitlin describes how private lives and domestic spaces have evolved from the seventeenth-century until now. He feels as though our once private households are now dominated by other worldly things in the form of media.
There are many ideas in Todd Gitlin’s writings that support his view of our media influenced world, two of which, are the ideas of “supersaturation” and “disposable feeling.” According to dictionary.com the definition of supersaturation is “to increase the concentration of (a solution) beyond saturation.” Gitlin uses the word “supersaturation” to describe the way today’s world has completely absorbed the media and its relations. Society has become immersed in the gossip and images displayed by the media. The lines between living space and working space are no longer as distinct as they used to be. Gitlin states that, “the outside world has entered the home with vengeance – in the profusion of media” (Gitlin 558). Relating to this same concept, Gitlin uses the idea of “disposable feeling” to explain the way people of today are able to move from one worldly image to the next, one piece of gossip to another, with no concern. We are able to shrug them off and come back to them later if we choose to do so. In some of Gitlin’s research, he refers to the writings of analyst Raymond Williams who states, “What we have now is drama as habitual...