Thanks for this, Brett. It is, indeed, dead on.
In his book "Mediated: How the Media Shapes Your World and the Way You Live in It," Thomas de Zengotita argues that because of mediation "reality is becoming indistinguishable from representation in a qualitatively new way." He describes the gradations of representation from "real real" to "unreal real" and suggests that the effect of witnessing--and internalizing--such tiers is that we don't need televisions or laptops to be effected by mediated imagery.
When we get dressed, we may consider our outfit's impact on others or unthinkingly compare the look to models we see in magazines. When we drive our VWs we might wonder if we look as quirky as the guy in the commercial (we're blasting Aphex Twin too!). When we go on vacation, experiencing isn't enough: we photograph, videotape, blog, post to Flickr. But why? Isn't direct experience enough? Or do we need technology to validate our experiences? Exactly, says Zengotita: mediation flatters us. We're the one pushing the buttons, whose life is so important it must be chronicled, transmitted and repurposed. (I blog therefore I am.) "The flattered self is a mediated self," Zengotita writers, "and the alchemy of mediation, the osmotic process through which reality and representation fuse, gets carried into our psyches by the irresistible flattery that goes with being incessantly addressed."
-Paul Schmelzer, Adbusters Vol. 14