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Prosperity Marxism – Episode 8: Birth of the Binge

Michael Pelias and Peter Brat­sis dis­cuss Den­nis Broe’s recent book “Birth of the Binge” in light of the mas­sive increase in media con­sump­tion due to COVID19.

Birth of the Binge: Ser­i­al TV and the End of Leisure describes and details ser­i­al tele­vi­sion and “binge watch­ing,” the exceed­ing­ly pop­u­lar form of con­tem­po­rary tele­vi­sion view­ing that has come to dom­i­nance over the past decade. Author Den­nis Broe looks at this prac­tice of media con­sump­tion by sug­gest­ing that the his­to­ry of seri­al­i­ty itself is a con­tin­u­al bat­tle­ground between a more uni­fied ver­sion of truth-telling and a more frac­tured form of diver­sion and addic­tion. Ser­i­al tele­vi­sion is exam­ined for the ways its ele­ments (mul­ti­ple char­ac­ters, defined social loca­tion, and sea­son and series arcs) are used alter­nate­ly to illus­trate a total­i­ty or to frag­ment social mean­ing. Broe fol­lows his the­o­ret­i­cal points with detailed illus­tra­tions and read­ings of sev­er­al TV series in a vari­ety of gen­res, includ­ing the sys­tem­iza­tion of work in Big Bang The­o­ry and Sil­i­con Val­ley; the social imbri­ca­tions of Jus­ti­fied; and the con­test­ing of mas­culin­i­ty in Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vam­pire Slay­er, Fire­fly, and Dollhouse.

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