It Just Is


The Blogosphere and the Postmodern Identity

Sitting on cool, moist, grass, under the comforting shade of a big, protective tree as the warming sun pierces through the leaves, I sit and scribble in my journal. Sounds enchanting, doesn’t it? While it is, this form of expression is getting beat out by new forms on the Internet. The blogosphere and networking sites are now millions of people’s new “journal writing under a tree” experience. But the blogosphere and these other sites offer writers something new and different. The blogosphere gives writers an audience, a global audience. And networking sites give users connection to one another. So while scribbling madly in a leather bound journal may give the writer an outlet, she can never receive feedback if it’s what she craves. Nor can she be so immediately united, bound to an online family who openly receives her. But when the writer sets down her journal, and picks up her laptop: what should she subscribe to; Blogger or MySpace? In my opinion, this might depend on what generation she comes from. To those born after the 1970’s, reared in the age of Postmodernism, MySpace will be more fulfilling to her needs. Because while the blogosphere is a land for intellectuals and even narcissists, networking sites like MySpace and Facebook cater to a Postmodern generation who ache for community, structure, and a place to build, erase, and rebuild their own identities.

Who is eligible to start their own blog? Everyone! The democratic quality of the blogosphere might be what attracts so many new users. But with so many new users, it must be said that not all blogs are created equal. Bloggers are judged by their work, and are always under the hot, threatening spotlight of their online “audience.” Blogs that stand above other blogs are ones that get more “hits,” or visits to their site everyday. Because of this, bloggers aren’t using their audience as a form of connection, but for selfish reasons. A section in Rebecca Blood’s book, The WeBLOG Handbook, is even titled, “Using Your Audience.” According to her, the two reasons bloggers should consider their audience are: “First, keeping your audience in mind will prevent you from damaging your reputation or your relationship. Second, and even more important, awareness of your audience will force you to be better at what you do” (Blood 66). So, according to these rules, as a blogger, I should be using you, my audience, to protect MY reputation, and to make MYSELF better at what I do. The potential connective quality of the blogosphere becomes obsolete, and is really an ego feeder. Part of the goal becomes “building a community presence.” One way Blood encourages bloggers to do this is by joining community events. One example of an event she gives is “‘Link and Think,’ an annual observation by webloggers and journalers of World AIDS Day” (Blood 87). This sounds noble enough, but the reason she gives for joining in the events? “Participating in events like these will bring you at least a little traffic immediately following the event.” And “joining a larger event can give you a nice sense of belonging to a larger group, but will not necessarily bring you many visitors” (Blood 88). Supporting a good cause, and even feeling like a part of a group, all become secondary to “building an audience.” This is evidence to disprove the theory that blogging allows users instant connection, because while it might, it isn’t why a writer becomes a blogger. A writer becomes a blogger because she wants to be heard, and because she wants to be “popular.” Sorapure, a blog researcher, concludes that the “selves” that blogs produce are directed to other readers, and so they are not like diary selves” (Rak 3). For this reason, only those willing to put time and effort into creating a successful site and into building an audience should begin a blog.

So, the blogger who makes her private life public isn’t writing for herself, she is writing for validation. As her audience grows, she becomes more confident that her life is intriguing. And her narcissism grows, swallowing her whole. She shares the same fate as Seymour Krelbourn, the looser who discovers an exotic plant that thrives off of blood, in the Broadway musical, The Little Shop of Horrors. First, he feeds it his own blood, and the plant grows. As a blogger feeds her audience pieces of herself she thinks they will want to hear, and her daily hits grow. Then Seymore feeds the plant his worst enemy, the man who stole his girl, and the plant grows famously large. So do bloggers become competitive with each other, wanting a bloody show to draw a crowd? Striving for a voice louder than the millions of other bloggers in the “electronic wilderness” can cause some bloggers to do irresponsible things. I feel that even though the blogosphere can be “man-eating,” it appeals to the Modernist. He is an individual, and autonomy is vital to existence. So while the there is a superficial sense of community, his real goal is to showcase his intellect and cleverness, as well as to win the approval of others.

Contrary, sites like MySpace are the perfect home for the Postmodernist. She longs to be plugged into a network, she longs for community, for a “family” who will let her express herself. She doesn’t need to worry about an audience, she can be whoever she wants, and she can absorb the variety of identities she encounters into her own. For those who aren’t sure what MySpace is, the article “MySpace: Design Anarchy That Works,” “the site is MySpace, a social-networking space where people connect with their friends and make new ones as they share their interests and personalities through the blogs, photos, comments, video, and audio they post” (“MySpace: Design Anarchy That Works.”). In contrast to the individualistic nature of Modernity and the Blogosphere, “postmodern consciousness focuses on the group. Postmodernists live in self-contained social groups, each of which has its own language, beliefs, and values” (Grenz 15). While MySpace itself is its own social group, within MySpace an user has a “friend list,” and can create her own groups and invite her own friends to join. To Postmodernists, “nothing has meaning in itself [but] meaning stems from relationships” (Berger ix). On a blog, few to no relationships are usually created; it is no wonder the postmodernist would get bored with a blog. On MySpace, people are finding one another everyday. Old friends from elementary school, summer flings, friend of a friend, new people are being added to one another’s lists everyday. As her friends list grows, she is immersed in growing diversity, and finds beauty in it.

Postmodern thought believes community shapes self identity. One’s self identity cannot help resist soaking up the endless variety of lifestyle choices. An identity can even blend and mix categories and genres modernity would never have conceived. Postmodernism reject that an individual can remain autonomous with a unitary identity. On MySpace, users are encouraged to create a profile that reflects who their personality. “MySpace permits users to do almost anything to the look of their profile pages, and the prevailing aesthetic is decidedly “more is more”: more color, more animation, more typefaces, more sound, more of everything makes a better profile page” (“MySpace: Design Anarchy That Works”). If she felt like it, a user could rebuild her profile everyday. In fact, “the system allows users to do almost anything to the look of their pages, whether it’s a good idea or not. Regardless of its aesthetic consequences, this customizability is one of the site’s most attractive features, and the do-it-yourself sensibility of the site resonates with the audience’s desire for self-expression” (“MySpace: Design Anarchy That Works”). A user’s identity becomes malleable: bending, melting, forming, and shifting from one stage of life to another, from one hair color to another, from one meaningful song to another, from one catchy “headline” to another. And as more friends are added to her “friends list,” more potential identities soak into hers. We are following Friedrich Nietzsche’s advice to “become the artists of our own experience, investing a word suited to our being” (Grenz 95).

If I were a faithful blogger, I would feel weighed down by the obligation it takes maintain an interesting blog, and the pressure to keep my audience faithful. But I do think that Blogs are valuable. Keeping in Postmodern thought, they encourage readers to determine their own truth. Also, though their voices may can become muddled, everyone has the opportunity to use their blog for their own purpose. Though to me many appear narcissistic, and reflect that we are still a culture in love with ourselves, I don’t want to discourage personal blogs. In fact, if I am going to maintain this blog, that might be the direction I would take, just because my life is what I know best. However, I feel that MySpace is a better home because, though there are just as many voices, they aren’t competing; they are connecting to one another. And though the concept of self is just as vital an issue, it isn’t self promotion: it is self discovery. While one’s identity is always changing inside the online community, it is a piece of the whole picture. “Just as bits and pieces make up a collage, so do our lives, postmodernists argue, reflect this fragmentation that has taken place in the postmodern world” (Berger 5). A collage is a celebration of diversity, and art that visually represents that while we are different, we still create a family, and have a voice that is worthy to be heard.

Work Cited

Berger, Arthur. The Portable Postmodernist. Walnut Creek: AltaMira Press, 2003.

Blood, Rebecca. The WeBLOG Handbook. Cambridge: Perseus Publishing, 2002.

Grens, Stanley. A Primer on Postmodernism. 1 ed. Grand Rapids: William B.

“MySpace: Design Anarchy That Works.” Business Week Online 01 May 2006 04 May

2006 <http://www.Business Week Online>.

Rak, Julie. “THE DIGITAL QUEER: WEBLOGS AND INTERNET IDENTITY.”

Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly 28(2005): 3.

[rockyou 23197664]

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the end?

Listen, i feel like the blogosphere is meant for people with meaningful things to say.  it's for people with a passion.  Even if they are only passionate about themselves. For intellectual snobs, who are more than happy to showcase their wit, cleverness, and well written sentences.  Or for people who sincerely believe that their words can make a difference in the world, that what they post needs to be heard, that change needs to happen.  

 But am i any of those people?  What can i say that will make a change? i am not clever.  nor do i feel like i need an online audience to share my passions with me.  Though… i do feel like every once in a while i write a pretty damn good sentence.  

And you?  why are you reading my blog?  who are you?   unless your my professor, i guess i am just surprised that you've made it past the first sentence.  and why did you link to my blog, anyway?  I know you didn't type the URL into the address bar, because honestly, i don't even know the URL.  I guess i am just curious…who is this blog for? is it for me?  is it for others? Because though i know that anyone has access to it, i have a suspicion that an overwhelming three people have ever even looked at It Just Is. I feel like my voice is drowned by the millions of other bloggers screaming in their tantrums, "READ ME!!!" So what's the point?  if i am just writing for me, i can do that in a journal.  but if i'm writing for "you," why would i do that when i don't even know who "you" are?? 

I still just don't know.  what direction could i take this blog? by the way, do blogs have to have a gimmick? a theme? a motto? is it bad blogging adequate to maintain a blog about nothing and everything?  

i am just not sure.  For example, after reading some of my fellow class mates last blogs, i was impressed that they had something meaningful to say! (that sounds bad, i know). as the last required blog posting, i was expecting it to be filled with fluff, and nonsense.  But i was proved wrong.  sadly, the first thought through my head was, "great…now i have to try to write something that doesn't suck."  but i'm not sure if that is something i am even capable of.  

so what's this blog's future?  i guess i 'm still figuring that out…


the magic eight ball says, “blogs are here to stay.”

In order for change to occur, new ideas need to have somewhere to go.  In the past, the world has been influenced by pamphlets and posters, radio and television, music… but now: The blogosphere is a doorway, inviting a paradigm shift in.

The blogoshere gives us a radically new way to disseminate ideas.  And whether or not everyone is reading blogs, everyone is being affected by them.  Those who do read blogs adopt new ideas, and carry these ideas with them, so that others become aware of new issues in politics, trends, religion, and every other topic out there. So anyone who says that they are uninfluenced by blogs, are naive to the potency of this "subculture." This is proved by news programs dedicating stories to blogs, and interviews with bloggers.  

From the World Wide Web's conception, it has been a place, a nesting ground for ideas to be born, and to thrive and grow.  From memes like "all your base are belong to us," to serious political issues like the legalization of marijuana, voices are being heard.  The Blogoshphere is a community that encourages users to formulate their own opinions.  But because there is a lot of "junk" out there, it is up to blog browsers to sift through everything, and grasp what ideas they find worthy of holding on to.  This makes us more aware and more responsible citizens.  

As for the future of the blogosphere, it is obvious that it isn't going anywhere. The new question becomes HOW significant its affect will be on our culture.  Will it replace other forms of media?  Will they become our ONLY way to get information?  This option is very democratic, and very postmodern.  If there is no truth, and if my truth isn't anyone else's, it makes sense that all of the obligation will be mine to interpret reality.  Also, in the blogosphere, everyone can have a voice.  No longer do we have to rely on big news to tell us what they believe is important. 

I think that the blogosphere is really going to benefit culture in the future.  However, i don't believe that it should be the one thing we all become dependant on.  As an extra, i think that its benefits are amazing, and its future is promising. 


what?

“What do you make of the metaphoricity and portmanteau-nature of so many of the standard new media terms? Why does new media seem to demand this conceptual framework to make meaning out of it’s ever-reNEWing self? Examples of new media neologisms and portmanteaus follow: blog (‘web+log’), podcast
(‘iPod + broadcast’), internet, web, cyberpunk, download. For more examples, visit the ‘Lexicon of New Media Terms’ link on our class homepage: http://www.metromemetics.com/thelexicon/all.asp.

maybe that i am completely and utterly confused by this IS THE POINT. but i'm not sure. All i know is that i read through this prompt too many times, and am still making my stupid, what? face. The face with a furrowed brow, eyes squinty looking over lowered glasses, a bitten lip, and a tilted head…

and then things get worse. After clicking on the link (above), the face remains. This is a new language! one who's existence i knew nothing about. okay, some things i have heard of: Adobe, Amazon.com, ATM, browser, DVD, ebay.com, e-mail, emoticon, Excel, font, google.com, hack, Internet, JPEG, kewl, laptop, link, Microsoft, PC, Photoshop, pixel, Quicktime, security, shareware, smiley, URL, virus…. Actually…. (*lightbulb*) i know more than i thought i would! i must be so totally immersed in the culture of new media that i've absorbed it all with out realizing it. It really is crazy to think about: that we are adding new words, phrases, and slang to our language everyday…that as new media evolves, our vocabulary adapts. I guess this has always been true. I am just stunned, that after my initial bafflement, things have become so clear. Not that i now, magically, know the meaning of all of the lexicons, and lingo on that website: but that i realize what a drastic effect new media HAS on our language and culture. So, i am still saying what? to a lot; but that's okay. i don't need to know it all to acknowledge that it is there.


hypertext included!

 

 

When i am reading a blog post, and come across something interesting, if the letters aren't in blue: I get upset. In fact, i almost feel insulted. Was the information not important enough for the author to share with his readers? Were they just being lazy, and didn't want to hit the hyperlink button? Is the author trying to deceive me by not giving me a link to the original source? Now i have to Copy and Paste the URL in the Navigating tab MYSELF. It is just rude. And lazy.

Having said that, i definitely believe that the mutability of blogs are their strength! While it might take the reader away from the page for a while, it encourages readers to follow the same rabbit trail that the author did in posting the information. And from my own experience, i almost always find a way to get back to the page i began on.

The transient nature of hypertext empowers readers and web browsers. No longer do we have to do all of the unpleasant work of "turning over every rock" on the Internet to find what we are looking for. If one web author finds a few links he can post them on his page, and he can link to another page that has found a few other links, and so on. Following link to link can be a really exciting process.

On the downside, sometimes links can be very frustrating. After hours of clicking on link after link, one can become disorientated. One CAN get lost online. But for the most part, i think that hyperlinks function more like a map, and than like a distraction. One does have to maintain a certain discipline when online, so as not to click on too many links in that will take you in the "wrong direction." But who is to say that getting "lost" online isn’t a GOOD thing? It may take time, perhaps time the web browser doesn't have, but following link after link successfully can be educating and entertaining!


one more thing…

i found the "perfect" advertisement to include with my paper, but i am a little late. so i am going to use it for my freestyle blog post. Yes, this is all that i am posting. (but the posting before this one drained all the energy i had left)…

i tried to embed the video onto my blog, but i am a failure at life.  so here is the link. enjoy!


MPAA Uses Unfair Rhetoric in their Ad Campaigns

car theif

A new car sits in lonely solitude in a vacant parking lot, dimly lit; until an ominous figure approaches the vehicle. The warm quietness of the night is broken by the sound of shattered glass and the shrill of a car alarm. In only a few minutes, a car is stolen. A police car driving by instinctively turns on his lights and siren in pursuit. The car thief slams his foot on the accelerator, but after a high speed chase, is forced out of the car, handcuffed, read his rights while his legs are spread, and thrown into the back of a cop car. Meanwhile, a 22 year college student sits on his laptop, tapping his fingers and checking his MySpace while he waits for Underworld II to finish downloading. According the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the college student should be looking over his shoulder, anticipating the police to knock down his door, point their loaded weapons at him, handcuff him, read him his rights, and throw him into the back of a cop car. But are these two "crimes" truly analogous? And do they deserve the same punishment? If one doesn't believe so yet, the MPAA is working hard to convince us that they are equivalent. Petrified that they're fate will be the same as the music industry's, the MPAA is rallying against piracy. And while the Supreme Court has said that file sharing is not illegal, forces at MPAA, like President Glickman, are disseminating propaganda to movie goers that attempts to convince us otherwise. The rhetoric in their ads is unfair, insults the consumers' intelligence and character, is full of logical fallacies, and is an attempt to brainwash our culture.

MPAA justice

The most widely known campaign against movie piracy is the commercial titled, "Piracy. It's a Crime." It begins, "You wouldn't steel a car. You wouldn't steel a handbag. You wouldn't steel a mobile phone. You wouldn't steel a DVD. Buying pirated films is stealing. Stealing is against the law. Piracy, it's a crime" (Motion Picture Association of America Internet Piracy Alert). First, according to the book Dialogues: An Argument, Rhetoric, and Reader, the commercial makes a false analogy by attempting "to draw a parallel between two things that are dissimilar" (Goshgarian, et al. 49-60). While steeling a car is a federal offense, most people charged with movie piracy are fined. Also, the advertisement is drenched in scare tactics because it pushes the audience to believe that if they were to ever purchase a "pirated" DVD, that they should feel as guilty as if they had stolen a poor old woman's handbag. At the closing of the commercial, the MPAA makes sure to reinforce their message by giving piracy a rating; "'I: Illegal downloading, inappropriate for all ages!" The commercial is successful in addressing the audience as though filled with unintelligent adolescence who, in order to really comprehend the seriousness of illegal downloading, have to be given a rating.

terminate it!

Another commercial that the MPAA has released features action heroes, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jackie Chan. Together, they spread the word that piracy is a crime. According to the California Commission Jobs and Economic Growth, the ad cost "about $190,000 to produce," as well as an estimated $350,000 in volunteer help to finish the spot" (Mosher). Clad in leather suits, dodging exploding cars on motorcycles, the duo explain “If this were the movies, we could stop the bad guys ourselves,” says Jackie about counterfeiters,” But this is the real world, and we need your help,” says Arnold. How can we help? Jackie says that, "When you buy pirated movies and music, you support criminals." And Arnold elaborates; "Now these criminals are counterfeiting other things like electronics and medicines." The commercial could be criticized for its lack of logic, and its path down a "slippery slope" (Goshgarian, et al. 49-60). Arnold attempts to convince us that if we support piracy, the criminals will "pirate" other things; things like "medicines." And the consequences of imposter medicines are severe. The high drama and action of the scene also add to the hyperbole, and is yet another reason why the audience might have difficulty taking this commercial seriously.

"Every once and a while, overstatements are delivered with a pathetic appeal to the perceived biases of public in order to evoke great fantasies of seriousness" (Fisher). According to Fisher, this is just what the MPAA is doing by equating buying pirated DVDs on the corner to drug trade. Supik, an MPAA field investigator who assists local law enforcement in anti-piracy raids, said or pirated movies, "This is the new drug on the street" (Fisher). This tactic is similar to the 2003 campaign that attempted to convince the public that downloading mp3's supported terrorism. Jack Valenti, head of the Motion Picture Association of America in 2003, said "…International criminal groups are getting rich from the high gain/low risk business of stealing American's copyrighted works" (Haugland). And that ""September 11 changed…the way American law enforcement looks at Intellectual Property crimes" (Haugland). This argument commits yet another logical fallacy; one that aims at the "fears and emotions of the masses" (Goshgarian, et al. 49-60). While some can see through this rhetoric, it is unfortunate that businesses use arguments that are meant to emotionally stir, and scare the consumer.

hitler youth girlworking classHitler youth

In their campaign against piracy, the MPAA has targeted two specific groups, children (and concerned parents) as well as the "average working john." The MPAA 's most recent attempt to indoctrinate American's teenagers is the established curriculum in junior high schools titled,” What’s the Diff?: A Guide to Digital Citizenship." Which, according to Jeff Howe, has "reached slightly more than half a million junior high students since it began this school year" (Howe 11). During the "lesson," students are handed cards that say which role they will be playing, actor, director, producer, set builder, or computer user, as well as the view they are supposed to express. According to Jeff Howe, who was present during a lesson in action, "Five of the pieces assert that file-sharing is unequivocally immoral. The single counterpoint is represented by the computer user. He defends file-sharing largely on the grounds that he won't get caught: 'Last time I checked, the Internet police didn't exist.' (Howe 11). This presents an extremely one sided view, and I'm not sure how the MPAA's goal of letting "students reach their own conclusions about being a good digital citizen" when they are fed what the MPAA wants them to decide. Howe, a journalist not confused by poor rhetoric or swayed by propaganda says that "the real point, of course, is to protect Hollywood from the fate of the record industry."

The MPAA is also concerned for Hollywood's little man, according to a commercial played during the previews of movie American Splendor. Author William Grosso was in the theater to witness the MPAA's latest attempt to woo its audience. Featured in the commercial is a painter named Daniel. According to 'Daniel,’ “The piracy issue … I don't believe it will effect the producers. I mean it does affect them, but it's miniscule to the way it effects me…. we are not million dollar employees… we're lucky if we put together 12 straight months" (Grosso). Some would argue that it is very hypocritical of the MPAA to argue that piracy hurts the little man, when "The film industry is run by people who take enormous amounts of money off the top and leave drippings for everyone else" (Grosso). In my opinion, i find it very discomforting that the MPAA's tactics are similar to Joseph Geobbles's, propaganda leader of the Nazi party during Hitler's rise to power. Not only did he focus on indoctrinating Germany's youth by getting them involved in Hitler Youth programs, he also made many attempts to appeal to the working class. And although "file sharing" and piracy may in all rights be illegal, it is this similarity that discredits the MPAA's attempts to persuade us.

While I do understand that Hollywood and the movie industry is having to adapt to a lot of change, and is having to salvage and protect their business, I do not agree with their tactics. In looking at the RIAA, and at its reaction to the piracy of mp3s by suing its consumers, I'm not sure which reaction is better. However, I believe that the movie industry and the MPAA would have an easier time convincing the public that piracy is a crime if they didn't use faulty arguments and poor rhetoric.

Works Cited

Fisher, Ken. "MPAA equates pirated DVDs to "drugs on the street"." ars technica. 15 Nov. 2005. server central. 06 Apr. 2006 <http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20051115-5580.html&gt;.

Gary Goshgarian, Kathline Krueger, and Janet Barnett Minc, ed. Dialogues: An Argument, Rhetoric, and Reader. 4th ed. New York: Longman, 2002.

Grosso, William . "Getting Lectured by the MPAA at the Movies." Policy DevCenter. 28 Aug. 2003. 06 Apr. 2006 <http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/wlg/3716&gt;.

Haugland, Jan. "You support terrorism if you download that ." MP3Secular Blasphemy. 15 Mar. 2003. 06 Apr. 2006 <http://blogs.salon.com/0001561/2003/03/15.html&gt;.

Howe, Jeff. "File-Sharing Is, Like, Totally Uncool ." Wired Magazine May 2004: 11.
Mosher, Mark. "ARNOLD AND JACKIE CHAN ASK HONG KONG." California Commission for Jobs and Economic Growth 19 Nov 2005. 06 Apr 2006 <http://www.4cajobs.com/china/chinapressrelease6.pdf&gt;.


red, green, or yellow.

code poetry? what the hell is code poetry?? from my feeble attempt to scratch the surface of code poetry on the web, i found it very diverse. I only previewed a few websites, and left them in confusion — perplexed.

what is code poetry? i still don't know. but when i got to the website, A is for apple, i couldn't leave. i was still perplexed. but i was also entranced.

hypnotised.

i got lost. i got sucked into its vastness. a continuous circulation. "Perpetual Movement." A is for apple. One word DOES NOT MEAN one thing.

apple.

Snow White.

Psychoanalysis.

Alan Turing.

The Big Apple.

Central Park. The Dakota. John Lennon. Yoko Ono.

Number 9. Ringo.

Apple Computer. (inspired by theBeatles). Dynamic Language. BOB DYLAN.

GOD. Babel. Adam and Eve. Language of Adam and Eve.

Language. Pictograph. ISAAC NEWTON.

Confused? or does it all make sense? According to Gary Kibbins, aisforapple.net is full of directionless and unmotivated clues, signaling a mystery that doesn't exist or a question not fully posed.

aisforapple.net is a collage. a collage "militating against realism." aisforapple.net obligates the viewer to participate. Kibbins says they must continually sort and sift through the information, always looking for relevance.

so while i still don't have a definition for code poetry, my time spent IN A is for Apple was a new experience.


throw me in jail, i’m a theif… (apparently)

Sitting in a dimly lit movie theater, devouring my popcorn before the opening credits of the movie, whispering jokes to my brother about the stupid Fandango commercials, and laughing too loud afterward for movie theater etiquette, the next thing to play on the huge screen in front of me is the new commercial funded by the Motion Picture Association (MPA).  “Are they kidding me?” was all that i could think.  Did they really just ask me if i wouldn’t steal a car, then why would i buy a pirated movie?  I’m not sure if these are really analogous.  Are they?? 

I never really considered it before.  Who does the buying and production of pirated movies effect?  Does it only affect “The Man?”  If so, why do we care?  Is pirating movies a way of “sticking it to the man?”  Or is that only rock and roll… Or am i really a THEIF for buying bootlegged copies of movies before they’re released??  I actually haven’t given it much thought before that commercial.  So in one sense, it’s message was translated.  But i’m not sure if i really agree with the propaganda they’re attempting to feed movie goers.   

According to the MPA website, piracy hurts our economy by diminishing needs for jobs in the movie industry, the entertainment industry because “recoup their original investment,” and less creative risks are taken, consumers because “looming threat of piracy can thwart innovation” (whatever that means). 

I’m really undecided about this.  From just preliminary investigation, the MPA hasn’t convinced me that pirating a movie is as punishable as stealing a car.  But i would like to dig a little deeper to see the issue from everyone’s perspective.  


Skipping class has never been so convenient…

As i sit here typing, i am looking out of the window onto the city of Chattanooga, Tennessee.  Tennessee: a very great distance away from UNLV, from building CEB, room 207.  I am supposed to be in that room later today, and because of pod-casting, i can be.  Though i am physically missing class, i know that after listening to the lecture cast, i’ll be as caught up as if i were actually there.  Any one who opposes the benefits of pod-casting lectures doesn’t know what it’s like to be a college student: or simply doesn’t remember.

The article “Professor in Your Pocket” does well at presenting both sides of the argument.  As i student, i mostly see pod-casting lectures as a brilliant idea, as something that students will get A LOT of use out of!  I agree with the opposition that students who habitually miss class and opt for the pod-cast instead are missing a lot of the experience.  But, when i look around at the empty seats in my classes, i realize that students don’t like to come to class.  This has been a strange phenomenon to me: why pay so much for tuition if you make a conscious choice to constantly skip class? But something amazing is growing in popularity– instructors posting an audio clip of their lectures gives otherwise slackers the opportunity to “be there” with out actually “being there.”

I think that the article jumps too far when it asks if ivy-covered lecture halls become as obsolete as the typewriter? This question is just as absurd as the prediction that fans will no longer go to concerts, watching live performances on AOL instead.  Come on.  There is something magical when going to a concert, feeling the bass of the subwoofers vibrate your clothes, singing meaningful lyrics in unison with a passionate crowd, a crowd that you know has listened religiously to the same c.d. you have, the bond, the connection of the band to the crowd…the appreciation and love the crowd gives to the band…these are NOT things that could ever be transferred through a media like pod-casting.  I think that this concept is true for higher education lectures as well.  (Though perhaps not in core classes, where students keep a vigilant eye on the clock), there is something magical as well in the connection between a professor and his students in deep discussion. 

As usual, I find value in both arguments.  Though the format might be one that students love, i disagree with students using pod-casting as a substitute for going to class.  But as a college student, i know the ache of dragging myself out of a warm, comfortable bed in the early morning after a late night of fun or study, only to face morning traffic, and a brutally boring lecture.   I see nothing wrong with students opting to listen to a lecture at their own convenience, at a time when they will be more in tuned anyway.  But i can’t see this new media replacing the setting of a classroom that higher education can provide.

At the end of the day, i will be tuning into my class.  And though I won’t be there to contribute to the discussion, upon my return i will be a lot less clueless.

Repond to the Newsweek article we read about podcasting and its place in the university. In what ways do you envision new media, blogs, and pod/lecturecasting affecting the academy in the future? Evaluate these effects.”