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This book argues that our world is inescapably mediated or specularized. It investigates human dilemmas without taking flight into cultural and political elitism and at the same time does not ignore the corporate and military agenda that is serviced by the media at great human cost. Arguments are drawn from political economy, psychoanalysis, and semiotics to describe the cultural functions of the media with respect to the state, the economy, the family, women and children and with regard to the problem of sustaining democratic public and civic institutions whose activities are wholly represented through the media.