Good Reads: Prophetic Critique and Popular Media

Prophetic Critique and Popular Media
Foreword by Robert W. McChesney; Afterword by Eric McLuhan

Co-edited by Robert H. Woods, Jr. (Professor of Communication and Media, Spring Arbor University) and Kevin Healey (Assistant Professor of Communication, University of New Hampshire), this volume positions the "prophetic" as an organizing concept that can bridge religious and secular criticism of popular media. Integrating concepts from Christian, Jewish, and Islamic theology with approaches from critical/cultural studies and the political economy of media, the book joins religious and secular scholarship in a unique vision for a revitalized, mass-mediated public sphere.

In a series of case studies, the authors expose how the content, institutions, and technologies of popular media alternately support – or undermine – the basic values of human dignity and social justice. Chapter topics include Google, U2, Fulla the Muslim Barbie, film representations of black preachers, environmentalist Rachel Carson, filmmaker Michael Moore, playwright David Mamet, and the Jewish Funds for Social Justice campaign against Glenn Beck.

Of particular interest to this group is Kevin Healey's chapter "You Are Not a Gadget: Prophetic Critique in the Age of Google," which suggests that technology critics like Jaron Lanier, Siva Vaidhyanathan, Sherry Turkle, and Nicholas Carr exemplify the prophetic critique of digital culture by highlighting the pervasiveness of technical idolatry among the elites of Silicon Valley.

For more information see our page at

Or visit our page at Peter Lang:

"The fast-growing segment of religious ‘nones,’ many of whom have strong ethical and spiritual convictions, is just one reason why this is such a timely volume. How does, how can, and how should contemporary media critique a culture increasingly bent on the celebration of amoral profiteering? The book’s authors explore examples of film, music and theater that challenge rather than lull, demanding thoughtful engagement instead of numbing consumption. Media are not transparent, they serve political interests. Robert H. Woods, Jr. and Kevin Healey ask whose interests are being served and what we intend to do about it."
- Diane Winston, Knight Chair in Media and Religion, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California