John David Ebert
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John David Ebert (born June 26, 1968) is a writer on mythology and popular culture and the ways they intersect with modern life. He has YouTube videos on subjects ranging from Rudolf Steiner, Oswald Spengler, Jean Gebser and Marshall McLuhan, to Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and The Beatles.
Twilight of the Clockwork God
Ebert's first book is a collection of his interviews with scholars & scientists Stanislav Grof, Terence McKenna, Rupert Sheldrake, Deepak Chopra, Ralph Abraham, William Irwin Thompson, Lynn Margulis, Brian Swimme. The book is supplemented by introductory essays preceding each subject and two more essay-length meditations on the possible future of the sciences and more generally, science itself, thus anticipating the breakdown of cultural consensus about "truth" characterizing high-tech consumer society during the early 21st Century. (The book's title does homage to Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols)
Celluloid Heroes & Mechanical Dragons
Ebert's second book Celluloid Heroes & Mechanical Dragons: Film as the Mythology of Electronic Society is an examination of the last three decades of film. In particular, it looks at the influence of mythology upon the cinema, beginning with Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey.
He attempts to show how the movie theater emerged out of the camera obscura, which in turn was given to the West by the Arabs, who had carried on and miniaturized Plato's cavern cosmology, confining it to their theory of optics. Thus, in Ebert's view, the movie theater is a survival of the ancient Paleolithic cosmology of the telling of stories before flickering firelight inside of a cave. The Arabs, in preserving an optical theory which, in contrast to the Greeks, viewed the eye as a sort of miniature cavern, eventually led, by way of a long story, to the camera obscura and hence, to the blowing up of the movie theater as a sort of large Arabic vision of the eyeball-as-cave.
Dead Celebrities, Living Icons
Ebert's third book "Dead Celebrities, Living Icons: Tragedy and Fame in the Age of the Multimedia Superstar" examines the popular mythology of the dying and reviving celebrity. It maintains that the current admiration of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and James Dean corresponds to a modern myth formed in the contemporary psyche that is analogous to the role of the Catholic saints in the Middle Ages. Certain celebrities, such as Princess Diana or Michael Jackson, generate a near-religious aura because they activate fairy tale-like archetypes in the collective psyche, especially as the result of a tragic death, which casts a mythic aura about such personages.
The New Media Invasion
Ebert's fourth book "The New Media Invasion: Digital Technologies and the World They Unmake" is a series of essays recording the effects of the Digital Revolution, beginning with the turning over of the Internet upon traditional printed media. The book discusses the effects of the New Media Invasion upon the media of the Gutenberg Galaxy, noting the disappearance of record stores, book stores, and the folding up of magazines and newspapers.
The Age of Catastrophe
Ebert's fifth book is about how disasters, both natural and man-made, are on the rise. He says a catastrophe always seems to be unfolding somewhere on the planet. He also claims that we have entered into an "Age of Catastrophes", in which catastrophes have grown both larger and more complex. The old days of geographically isolated industrial accidents, such as the sinking of the Titanic or the explosion of the Hindenburg, together with their isolated causes and limited effects, are over. Now, disasters on the scale of Hurricane Katrina, the BP oil spill or the Japan tsunami and nuclear reactor accident, threaten to unhinge the very order of civilization itself.
- Twilight of the Clockwork God: Conversations on Science & Spirituality at the End of an Age (Council Oak Books, 1999)
- Celluloid Heroes & Mechanical Dragons: Film as the Mythology of Electronic Society (Cybereditions, 2005)
- Dead Celebrities, Living Icons: Tragedy and Fame in the Age of the Multimedia Superstar (Praeger - Greenwood, 2010)
- The New Media Invasion: Digital Technologies and the World They Unmake (McFarland Books, 2011)
- The Age of Catastrophe: Disaster and Humanity in Modern Times (McFarland Books, 2012)
- Post-Classic Cinema: Collected Film Reviews 2005-2013 (Create Space, 2013)
- Art After Metaphysics (Create Space, 2013)