Tuesday, May 1, 2007

the second: wing it

the boys that brought us skype are well on their way to making another fortune with this. Is Joost the future of internet TV? The editor of maclife says that it has potential. But what about youtube or Apple TV and iTunes?

Lets step back for a second...has anyone read Fahrenheit 451? Books are banned and burned while huge tv screens provide entertainment. People are not supposed to think critically...they are simply supposed to go about their daily lives. Big brother is watching, etc...

I have always said that computer and other technological innovations are exciting and, when used appropriately, are very capable tools to better our lives. However, I have always been skeptical of bringing my computer into the living room and using it as the focal point for everything. The potential for control starts to grow exponentially when we bring computers into the game of media machine. Already TiVo records shows it "recommends" for the person using it based on shows watched. That seems innocent enough...but fascism doesn't just appear with a bang, it slips in slowly. More importantly, the more entertained we are, the less it is likely that we will think for ourselves.

Let us step back from that...I am not advocating we become Luddites and throw all technology away...there are so many factors that are at play with thinking critically, etc. The education system plays a big role, and needs to step it up a bit. What I am saying is caution is needed, awareness and for heavens sake don't pay such close attention to Anna Nicole Smith that you forget about what really matters! To be more specific...entertainment is defined by the American Heritage dictionary as, "Something that amuses, pleases, or diverts, especially a performance or show". However, we have taking it and created media centers that revolve around only reporting what is going on in the lives of our entertainers. While mildly fascinating for some, I have seen it become completely all consuming for other people...to the point where they are not paying attention. So that when something like this comes along, only a handfull of people really care. I mean, of course another celebrity sex tape is more important, right? Don't get me wrong, she is gorgeous...but come one people, its all a publicity stunt. As was the faux Paris/Nicole not being friends thing. I could go on...but then you might think that I am obsessed with what happens in the entertainment world.

That may be true, but I pay attention, and I hope that you do as well...

until next time, don't forget to wear a condom, practice abstinence or use birth control...there are too many children on this planet as it is.


"come one" = best typo ever

Okay, so I think the thing you really hit on here, for me, is the point that the more entertained we are, the less likely we are to think for ourselves. I am horrified by how much of my students' discourse centers around the television shows they're watching (and they're watching the worst of the worst - "I Love New York" and all those other MTV reality shows).

Not that I don't love me some popular culture, but everything I consume goes through a critical filter, and I fear that filter is entirely lacking in the majority of my students. I am working so aggressively to instill critical thinking skills in them now, but I fear that by the time they get to high school, it's a little too late. Radical change is required in the public education system, but it won't occur unless the funding and the motivation are there, and with the powers that be being what they are, this seems unlikely for now.


Now I'm depressed. And long winded! Yeesh!