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Diana Senechal

Mind over Memes

Passive Listening, Toxic Talk, and Other Modern Language Follies

Rowman & Littlefield 2018

New Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in CommunicationsNew Books in LanguageNew Books in Literary StudiesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network May 25, 2020 Marci Mazzarotto

In Mind over Memes: Passive Listening, Toxic Talk, and Other Modern Language Follies (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018), Diana Senechal examines words, concepts, and phrases that demand...

In Mind over Memes: Passive Listening, Toxic Talk, and Other Modern Language Follies (Rowman & Littlefield, 2018), Diana Senechal examines words, concepts, and phrases that demand reappraisal. Targeting a variety of terms, the author contends that a “good fit” may not always be desirable; delivers a takedown of the adjective “toxic”; and argues that “social justice” must take its place among other justices. This book also includes a critique of our modern emphasis on quick answers and immediate utility.

By scrutinizing words and phrases that serve contemporary fads and follies, this book stands up against the excesses of language and offers engaging alternatives. Drawing on literature, philosophy, social sciences, music, and technology, Senechal offers a rich framework to make fresh connections between topics. Combining sharp criticism, lyricism, and wit, Mind over Memes argues for judicious and imaginative speech.


Marci Mazzarotto is an Assistant Professor of Digital Communication at Georgian Court University in New Jersey. Her research interests center on the interdisciplinary intersection of academic theory and artistic practice with a focus on film and television studies.