"A thoughtful, in places chilling, account of the way entertainment values have hollowed out American life." The New York Times Book Review
From one of America's most original cultural critics and the author of Winchell, the story of how our bottomless appetite for novelty, gossip, glamour, and melodrama has turned everything of importance-from news and politics to religion and high culture-into one vast public entertainment.
Neal Gabler calls them "lifies," those blockbusters written in the medium of life that dominate the media and the national conversation for weeks, months, even years: the death of Princess Diana, the trial of O.J. Simpson, Kenneth Starr vs. William Jefferson Clinton. Real Life as Entertainment is hardly a new phenomenon, but the movies, and now the new information technologies, have so accelerated it that it is now the reigning popular art form. How this came to pass, and just what it means for our culture and our personal lives, is the subject of this witty, concerned, and sometimes eye-opening book.
[Gabler] sets forth the notion that entertainment values have come to dominate not only the mass media but also personal conduct, turning American life into the cultural equivalent of a movie...he brilliantly demonstrates that we swim in a sea of media-marketed gratifications. --Columbia Journalism Review