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Mark Dery
Born December 24, 1959 (1959-12-24) (age 50)
Braintree, Massachusetts
Occupation Cultural critic, freelance journalist, professor, lecturer
Nationality American
Official website

Mark Dery (born December 24, 1959)[1] is an American author, lecturer and cultural critic. He writes about "media, the visual landscape, fringe trends, and unpopular culture"[2] From 2001 to 2009, he taught media criticism and literary journalism in the Department of Journalism at New York University.[3] In January 2000, he was appointed Chancellor's Distinguished Fellow at the University of California, Irvine[4] In summer 2009, he was awarded a scholar-in-residence position at the American Academy in Rome, Italy.

Dery was born in Boston, and earned a B.A. from Occidental College in 1982. He identifies his politics as "unrepentantly leftist" and his religion as Church of the SubGenius.[1] (On his Facebook page, he gives his "Religious Views" as "Godless. And loving it.")

He has written for The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic Monthly, The Washington Post, Lingua Franca, The Village Voice, Rolling Stone, Spin, Wired,, "", and Cabinet, among other publications. He has been a featured guestblogger on the pop-tech website Boing Boing. Much of his work has dealt with cyberculture and the cultural effects of the Digital Age.

An early writer on technoculture, Dery helped inaugurate cyberstudies as a field of serious inquiry with the anthology "Flame Wars: The Discourse of Cyberculture" (1994), which he edited. Flame Wars kick-started the academic interest in cyberfeminism and afrofuturism, a term Dery coined in his trailblazing essay "Black to the Future" (included in Flame Wars) and a key theoretical concept driving the now-established study of black technoculture.

Dery is also known for his 1993 essay Culture Jamming: Hacking, Slashing, and Sniping in the Empire of the Signs, in which he popularized the term "culture jamming," a form of "tactical media," or guerrilla media activism, with roots in Situationism, '60s street theater, the agit-prop photomontages of John Heartfield, pirate media, punk 'zines, and the media hoaxes of Joey Skaggs. Widely republished in print and on the Web, Culture Jamming helped spark the guerrilla media activism movement associated with Adbusters magazine (to whom Dery, as a columnist, introduced the concept). It remains the definitive theorization of this subcultural phenomenon.

His other key theorizations include the notion of the Pathological Sublime, which he defined on his blog Shovelware as "an aesthetic emotion that is equal parts horror and wonder, inspired by works of art (or nature) that hold beauty and repulsion in perfect, quivering tension. The Pathological Sublime is the sensation Emily Dickinson had in mind when she wrote, "'Tis so appalling---it exhilarates..."

"Deconstructing Psycho Killer Clowns," his close reading of the Evil Clown Meme, gained widespread attention when the popular blog bOING bOING posted a link to the SCRIBD PDF of Dery's essay; as of April 23, 2009, the PDF had garnered 3,833 "Reads" and 323 "Downloads."

Dery has written extensively about the British sci-fi author J.G. Ballard, whom he reads as a preeminent philosopher of the postmodern. His obituary for Ballard was published by The L.A. Weekly and on the fansite

He moonlights as vocalist/lyricist for the performance-poetry duo Bite the Wax Tadpole.



  1. ^ a b Contemporary Authors Online, s.v. "Mark Dery" (accessed February 12, 2008).
  2. ^ Biographies, Mark Dery's Shovelware, 2004.
  3. ^ Faculty: Mark Dery, Journalism at NYU (accessed February 12, 2008).
  4. ^ [1].

External links



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