Media breakdown

fri21jul2006—29w202d55%— 20h28m00s—0utc

For he who lives more lives than one
More deaths than one must die.

— Oscar Wilde, The Ballad of Reading Gaol

media breakdown

World withdrawal into prolonged media sprees, especially if sudden and marked by depression. Tinged with apathy, alienation, and escapism, it is brought into being by digital’s media unprecedented affordances: abundance and easy, immediate replayability. It will be to our century, what hysteria was to Freud’s: the neurosis of the time.

Nowhere is it more widespread than in Japan, the world’s media beachfront: Tokyo’s youth indulges in it in custom-built sanctuaries ELZR, the national anime waxes philosophical on it ELZR, and an extreme variant of the condition, with the name of hikikomori WP (ひきこもり or 引き籠もり lit. “pulling away, being confined,” i.e., “acute social withdrawal”), has received intense mainstream-media attention.

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