Author: Douglas Rushkoff

Aleister & Adolf is a new graphic novel from Dark Horse Comics, the product of the creative pairing of media theorist Douglas Rushkoff—Professor of Media Studies at Queens College in New York—and and award-winning illustrator Michael Avon Oeming. In Aleister & Adolf the reader is taken behind the scenes of the capitalist spectacle and inside the boardrooms where corporate-occult […]

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Author, media theorist, professor, activist: Douglas Rushkoff wears many hats. At the heart of his work is a recurring theme: how to redevelop society to better serve humans. In this episode, Douglas discusses his latest book, Throwing Rocks at the Google Bus, which raises fundamental questions about what he calls the “old extractive, growth-based capitalism.” This is a hard-hitting critique of the digital revolution, finance in Silicon Valley, and its obsession with growth-and a call for new economic, technological, and social programs to create a fairer, more sustainable economy for humans.

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When Americans go to the polls next week, they will be finalizing an electoral cycle characterized largely by resentment–and Doug Rushkoff, for one, mostly blames the changes spawned by the internet.

Instead of the once-promised glorious new age, one that would free us from the tyranny of the corporate state, we got income inequality, the housing bubble, increased corporate power, and, now, a presidential election like none other in our history. And Rushkoff, a longtime media theorist and author, says the tech industry is partly responsible.

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In Aleister & Adolf, media theorist and documentarian Douglas Rushkoff weaves a mind-bending tale of iconography and mysticism, set against the backdrop of a battle-torn Europe.

This all-new original graphic novel, beautifully rendered by Michael Avon Oeming (The Victories, Powers), views real-world history through a psychedelic occult lens.

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Now that Apple has disappointed early adopters with a mere incremental iPhone upgrade, and Samsung has done even worse by releasing exploding Galaxy Note 7s, the preposterous futility of the smartphone wars should be coming apparent. Those people who are trading in perfectly usable phones for the latest models are the suckers.

A brand new smartphone is anything but a status symbol. It simply means you’ve been fooled into valuing a shiny new object over its impact on labor, the environment, or even your own time. And it’s not entirely your own fault.

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“When I first heard digital,” Douglas Rushkoff said at a book event in May, launching into a thought stream, a gyroscopic, physical whirligig of economic theories, history, and emphatic hand gestures, “this is what I thought of as the digits,” and he flitted his fingers. The professor of media studies was there in the early days of the Web, when social networking was message boards and chatrooms, and initially he thought “that the digital age was for people to get back into human creation, human production. For people to have their hands back on the—it’s a terrible metaphor, I was going to say the steering wheel, the dashboard—back on the green engines of creation.”

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It’s not hackers breaking into your bank account that should scare you; it’s the banks themselves. Details are now surfacing about more than 1.5 million unauthorized Wells Fargo bank and credit card accounts created on behalf of unwitting customers by bank employees hoping to cash in on new account bonuses.

I’m finding it hard to take comfort in the fact that more than 5,300 employees have just been fired for engaging in the practice. 5,300 employees? That’s not a few bad actors, but an indication of the systemic, institutionalized extraction that has been guiding banking for the past several decades, if not longer.

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How do we include more people in the tech economy? Why does taking startup capital curse companies like Twitter? The assumptions that the age of extractive growth was built on are dying. What does the concept of the commons mean in the internet age? And how did early internet anti-government sentiment lead to corporate control of the internet?

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