OPEN REALITY by Richard & Nicholas Regush Altschuler


Email this review


Yet another attack on ""the work-to-buy"" mentality and media induced want-creation -- i.e. consumerism. The authors, who a couple of years ago approached this same subject through satire (IC: An Introductory Exposition of Infinite Capitalism, 1972), are now being quite serious, even somber. They argue that Americans, as citizens of an advanced industrial society live, like it or not, in a world of Open Reality -- they must define and shape their own identity which for most of us is a stressful, anxiety producing experience. Corporations and advertising promise a way out of this uneasy state -- happiness is a consumer item, a ""sexy"" perfume or a macho car. Altschuler and Regush pay less attention to the specific tricks involved in subliminal advertising than to its dismaying impact on our psyches. Studies have shown that children especially are very vulnerable to ads. Will a child suffer psychological damage if his Mommy doesn't look, talk and act like the smiling, well-dressed Mommy on the TV commercial? Sex appeal, status, the fun-filled vacation, the happy marriage, all are being marketed. It is of course a cruel hoax. You wonder if the authors have not overestimated the gullibility of the average American, though the ""tactical assault upon our consciousness"" is unassailable. And what to do about it? Alas, no political or practical proposals are forthcoming. Achieving ""open reality"" turns out to be a matter of ""honesty"" and ""continuing self-evaluation,"" living with conflict and complexity. A sound exposition of media seduction, but short on how to combat this ubiquitous blight.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1974
Publisher: Putnam