Monday, May 30, 2011

The Influencing Machine

A couple of years ago I visited my friends Rick and Zena in Florida and one of the things we did was go to the Miami Book Festival. At this festival one of the cartoonists that was there was Josh Neufeld (writer and artist of the great graphic novel A.D.: New Orleans After The Deluge) and after listening to him on this excellent panel he was part of, while I was getting the aforementioned graphic novel signed by him, I asked him what he was working on next. So he told me about The Influencing Machine and I had been eagerly awaiting it until its arrival last week. The Influencing Machine is one of those graphic novels that shows the endless possibilities of the sequential art medium and is highly entertaining to boot.

The Influencing Machine is subtitled Brooke Gladstone On The Media because it is written by Brooke Gladstone and it is about the media (I love a book that has a cool title and describes what the book is about). I listen to NPR a LOT, but for whatever crazy reason, before reading this graphic novel, I'd never heard of On The Media, an NPR program that Brooke Gladstone is cohost of and managing editor of. Amongst the many hats Gladstone wears at NPR, she also is the senior editor of Weekend Edition and All Things Considered.

As the title of this graphic novel states, The Influencing Machine is about how the media both in the past and present shapes and distorts our understanding of the world around us. Even if you already know some of the honest and dishonest ways in which various medias present news to the end consumers (us), The Influencing Machine outlines the failures and successes of media in a way that will make you even smarter than you previously were and Gladstone and Neufeld's graphic novel is in no way a chore to read, rather it helps process these ideas in a very fluid, entertaining fashion. The Influencing Machine gets the full five Epsteins recommendation (five is the highest)!

For a cool little animated taste of The Influencing Machine check out the following link:

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