“Beyond the Master Plan” with Fred Turner

On recovering the countercultural roots of digital media

Douglas Rushkoff
Oct 17, 2018 · 2 min read

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Playing for Team Human today is Fred Turner, professor and Chair of the Department of Communication at Stanford University. Fred will be helping us recover the countercultural roots of digital media, while also imploring us to look toward the mundane, existing ways of staking our claim to authority over the world in which we live — press play above to listen to the episode.

Turner has done extensive research into the countercultural and even psychedelic roots of cyberculture, culminating in his extended biography of Stewart Brand titled From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network, and the Rise of Digital Utopianism.

Turner’s writing and research reach even further back into the history of cyberculture with The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and American Liberalism from World War II to the Psychedelic Sixties where he explores and exposes the deepest origins of our touchscreen society.

In this conversation, Fred and Douglas use these works as a jumping off point to a wide range of topics including a provocative discussion on the ways those early utopian visions of technology were subsumed into an ideology of individualism and ultimately, consumerism.

Is it time to re-embrace the boring? In our quest to be our “authentic selves” at all times, have we forgotten the necessary and sometimes mundane civic work that is required for concrete change both in our local and global communities? This and much more!

On this episode, you heard Fugazi’s “Foreman’s Dog” in the intro, Herkhimer Diamonds “Xmas Underwater” and our closing music is thanks to Mike Watt.

Written by

Author of Team Human, Present Shock, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, Program or Be Programmed, and host of the Team Human podcast http://medium.com/team-human

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