Ep. 107 Fred Turner “Beyond the Master Plan”

October 17, 2018

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.

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 reaches 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.

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Fred Turner Photo by: Mareike-Foecking

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