Abstract

O'Gorman is particularly interested in the relationship between death and technology, an area of research that he has dubbed "necromedia." This essay adopts Ernest Becker's conception of culture as a "hero system" that fulfills two primary existential needs: 1) the denial of death, and 2) the desire for recognition. By crossing Becker's work with the theories of Bernard Stiegler, Martin Heidegger, and Alexandre Kojève, the essay applies this notion of a cultural hero system toward a more contemporary analysis of technoculture. The role of media technologies in such tragic events as the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings and in the "death by gaming" trend in South Korea illustrate how technoculture offers a promise of immortality with which other cultural systems (school, religion, family) cannot compete. be observed in everyday life, wherever technology fulfills the desire for recognition and buffers us from the inevitability of death. From popular accounts of the search for an "immortality gene," to the explosive popularity of Facebook and Twitter, technological resources and the rhetorics that promote them have become the existential cornerstone of Western society.

Additional Information

ISSN
1053-1920
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-07
Open Access
No
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