Jodi Dean, associate professor of political science, discussed “Secrecy and Democracy” with host Gretchen Helfrich on WBEZ's “Odyssey” on Oct. 24, broadcast live in the Chicago, Ill. area. Dean answered the question “could secrecy be just as important as transparency to democracy?” She used examples from her new book, “Publicity's Secret: How Technoculture Capitalizes On Democracy,” in which she claims the public's demands for information both coincide with the interests of the media industry and reinforce the cynicism promoted by contemporary technoculture.
Dean's argument is built around analyses of Bill Gates, Theodore Kaczynski, popular journalism, the Internet and technology, as well as the conspiracy theory subculture that has marked American history from the Declaration Independence to the political celebrity of Hillary Rodham Clinton. The author claims that the media's insistence on the public's right to know leads to the indiscriminate investigation and dissemination of secrets. Consequently, in her view, the theoretical ideal of the public sphere, in which all processes are transparent, reduces real-world politics to the drama of the secret and its discovery. WBEZ 91.5 FM is Chicago's public radio station. The nationally syndicated show Odyssey is broadcast from 12:30 – 1 p.m. daily.