In large scrawling bold letters on the dust jacket of Todd Gitlin's book Media Unlimited the phrase "The message is...There is no message" is written. This is not only an obvious ode to the writings of Marshall McLuhan, but also the way I felt after reading the strange labyrinth of a book. Gitlin has taken a unique approach in analysing our relationship with media, and its bombardment of our lives. Instead of attempting to define media and its effects on society through the use of a well defined and supported thesis, Gitlin chooses to take the same approach that the media often takes. He attacks the reader with an array of vaguely linked information regarding our society's relationship with the complicated behemoth known as "The Media". Gitlin suggests that our relationship with the media is impossible to define unless we first acknowledge the true extent to which it encompasses our lives.
Media Unlimited is one of the few unique books which manages to cause feelings of enlightenment, confusion and frustration, all at the same time. This is because it is structured in way which causes the reader to feel as if they are on a winding country highway with no road signs, unaware of their ultimate destination.
Every page of Gitlin's book seems as if it could be a separate volume upon its own. In 220 pages he touches upon such hefty subject matter as: the world's infatuation with western culture; the deceptions of the news media; the increasing television consumption of children; the Walt Disney corporation; the anti-war movement; the internet; the events of September 11th; the relationship between race and the media; the dark side of modern technology and the influence of Marshall McLuhan. Still, this is only a minute percentage of what is discussed.