Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Can it be the dream of a better life?

One of the students in today's lecture asked me this, as I was talking about Anders' adventures with his pvr. I was indicating that his reports hinted that perhaps the time would have been better spent actually watching television than working so hard to record the programs. "Can it be he imagines a better life, one where he is free of the control of the television stations, which makes him keep struggling to understand?"

Of course, the student was right, but the mood of a tired class tipped towards a touch of exaggeration and it soon developed a certain wicked glee as we expanded on the adolation of technology and entrance to paradise through wireless communication.

However, checking the smart mobs blog, I had a moment of deja vú as I read a presentation of an article by Christine Rosen in the new Atlantis. Her article is full of words resonating negativity: Egocasting, Pod people, The Shallow Critique, ending with Control Freaks (I guess that's us), and is - to say the least, critical to the development of personal communication technology.

What caught me was the quote presented in the Smart Mobs blog:
We talk about our technologies in a way (and grant to them the power over our imagination) that used to be reserved for art and religion. TiVo is God’s machine, the iPod plays our own personal symphonies, and each device brings with it its own series of individualized rituals.

And although Rosen goes on the claim that this isn't religion, but fetishism - well, where did the concept "fetish" come from?

And so I cling, obsessively, to the cellphone, as it controls my day. Beeping, it reminds me that I now need to hurry and get lunch if I want food before the next meeting. Time to let go of the juju which lets me control the supernatural posting power.

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