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134 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 beneath the surfaces to discover underlying structures - in discovering a reality that is deeper than appearances.' This, according to the author, overcomes the serious limitation imposed on the journalist by the regime of objectivity because it 'enjoins a self-reflexive attitude towards knowledge.I In chapter 8, 'Straws in the Wind: Alternatives to the Regime?', the authors review strengths and limitations of various media forms of resistance , the limited potential of that digital info god (the Internet) and the valuable public service of the media-monitoring organizations which have sprung up in the 1990s.1n the final analysis, the authors argue for a public communication to nurture a sustainable democracy. That is possible if the current media system abandons its bias towards promotion of excessive consumption as it is primarily interested in advertising revenues. The media have a major role in helping democratic institutions to maintain and reproduce themselves over time, given the challenges they face from ethnic hatred and fascist tendencies of majority populations in many nation-states. For the authors the idea ofnurturing'sustainable democracy relates, in one sense, to the environmental concept of restricting and managing growth in the interests of ecological survival, and a precondition for any humanly livable social order.' This is quite a challenge to anyone interested in reforming the media system, which is driven by the profit motive, and the individual journalist, who, more often than not, is part of the power elite. As the last line of the book emphatically states, the task may seem impossible, and yet, it must be done. (MANJUNATH PENDAKUR) William Anselmi and Kosta Gouliamos. Elusive Margins: Consuming Media, Ethnicity, and Culture Guemica. 130. $18.00 One of the unfortunate legacies of the FrankfurtSchool'scritical or negative mode of thought has been the host ofimitators, too numerous to count, that it has spawned. Following Adorno's negation of Hegel's lengthy attempt to grasp the rationality of the Totality, the epigones take a stab at their own apocalyptic versions of the irrationality of the Now, and the briefer the treatment the better, it often seems. In Elusive Margins, Anselmi and Gouliamos, on the strength of a 1994 collection with the same publisher critiquing the politics of representation, offer up some bleak considerations with this essay on the irrationality of the information society. Their argument is, in many respects, par for this genre of essay; namely, that the formidably recuperative capacities of the mass media, and the Jpower white elites' that control the systems of representation (political, economic, social, and aesthetic) with which the media work, have resorbed everything (the vague term is perfectly appropriate) into the ideological and aesthetic rituals of fetishistic consumption, including and especially HUMANITIES 135 Ita~;m(~gclncdiscourses that neutralize and elite is almost ..., ......LA............. contribution to a set of im- 136 LETTERS IN CANADA 1998 portant social and cultural issues that increasingly confront this and many other countries. Occasionally thought-provoking and written with some finesse, Elusive Margins, in the end, offers more than one might have initially assumed. (MICHAEL DORLAND) Jordan Howard Sobel. Puzzles for the Will: Fatalism, Newcomb and Samarra, Determinism and Omniscience University of Toronto Press. xiii, 212. $55.00 Do we ever have a choice concerning the actions that we perform? The question is not whether we ever choose those actions; rather, it is whether we could choose differently and would act differently were we so to choose. It is natural to think that we do have such a choice concerning at least some actions; it is natural to think, for example, that voters in the most recent federal or provincial election could have chosen to vote for another candidate, or to decline their ballot altogether, and that they would have done so had they so chosen. The possibility of effective choice for alternative actions is, according to Howard Sobel, constitutive of free will, and the ancient and deep question of whether we do in fact have such choice, and, thus, free will, is one of the two main issues discussed in this closely argued book. The other principal topic has to do with rational choice, with its conditions and with real or imagined threats...


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