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Richard A. Grusin, Premediation Discussion Questions

1.) In Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Foer uses a multi-media approach to tell the story of Oskar’s journey. In Premediation, Grusin presents a theory in which the media maintains a constant low level of anxiety that traumatic events are about to happen in order to help the public prepare for future events and recover from past trauma. How do we observe premediation through Oskar’s eyes? Does the frantic, fragmented style of ELAIC preserve some tangible form of premediation within its pages?

2.) In his first blog entry on Premediation: In Which I Attempt to Think Through the Concept of Premediation on the Fly, Grusin presents the media-coverage leading up to Obama’s announcement of his Vice President choice as a prime example of premediation at work. He explains:

"Since 9/11 the predominant orientation of print, televisual, and online media has been toward the future. Where news media have historically aimed at the mediation of the very recent past, and then more recently of the live, immediate present, today we see the focus to be predominantly on the future. This has, of course, been always true of election coverage to a great extent, but ever since 9/11 all events have been treated as if they were elections."

Premediation can clearly be applied to dramatic, life-altering events such as elections, natural disasters, and political scandals—but how does it manifest on a smaller scale?

• Can premediation be used to examine popular culture, through the lenses of social media like Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook?

• Are there phenomena that are considered to be too small to be premediated?

• Or, does premediation require that “all events [be] treated as if they were elections,” however minute?

3.) Reviewer Russell Kilbourn notes, “…rather than the pre-emptive anticipation of possible futures, Grusin’s book is really all about memory, insofar as premediation describes a process whereby the subject, confronted by the future, recognizes it as something always already seen and therefore, in a certain sense, known.

• Premediation requires both the public and the media to constantly look forward, back, and around themselves in the present to maintain an awareness of the possibilities for traumatic events to happen. How does premediation differ from DeLillo’s conceptions of ‘watchfulness’ in Falling Man?

• Is premediation a reasonable tool that can be used to inform political action, as Marieke De Goede suggests, or a paranoid manifestation of fear? Can it be both, or neither?

4.) Grusin tells interviewer Elizabeth Saaed Correa, “The affective temporality of premediation is the temporality of anticipation, in which our mobile, socially networked media work together to produce, satisfy, and maintain individual and collective affective states of anticipation towards a potential, virtual, and thereby already real futurity.” How are premediation and mobility related? How does mobility keep people engaged with media?