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To call new media "new" is something of a misnomer; the Internet as we know it (meaning primarily the world wide web) has been around for over a dozen years, and that's only one of the more recent network protocols invented for computer-based communication. This course will serve as an introduction to the study of digital media, new and otherwise, with attention to the pre-history of the Internet systems we're now familiar with, the theoretical modes of reading that such technologies have helped give birth to, and the social and political effects that these technologies have had. Some of what we'll read will seem a bit dated, as the Internet has developed quickly over the last decade-plus, but all of it remains important for a well-grounded understanding of the development both of network technologies and of scholarly thought about those technologies.
Both readings related to how a video game is developed. I will mostly dig into the game time vs real time argument and slightly touch upon whether or not we create the story of a video game or there is already a plot set up for us.
In Howard Rheingold's reading, "The Virtual Community", Howard describes online communities as able to "change our experience of the real world, as individuals and communities."
As mentioned in our class discussion and in the reading "Race In/For Cyberspace: Identity Tourism and Racial Passing on the Internet", Lisa Nakamura brings up a point identifying the internet to be somewhat tangible allowing us to "surf" through sites. This idea of surfing through an idealogical thing like the internet is somewhat amusing as although we identify the internet as "not real" we apply things that are "real" to it. Another example was the idea of gender or race.
Julian Dibbell speaks to us about how the online realm shouldn't be law-free. In the case mentioned in our class discussion over the NYU student for example, it is clear (at least to me) that it was full-blown harrassment. True it may have started on the online realm, but once the problem reaches through your internet into the "real" world things start to get messy.
All this cyborg talk makes me think of what it would be like to actually live among cyborgs.
I'm afriad of two things.
First we must assume that the transformation of becoming this "cyborg" figure can not happen universally, and is a slow process.
Now I fear that
1. People will start to shun the non-cyborgs and vice-versa, treating cyborgs as a different "race" or "gender" completely.
2. Out of these people who resist this process, what would happen to them? Would they be treated as inferior?
In this reading, Donna Haraway goes in-depth in explaining a society free of gender, gender roles, and anything related to sex. She goes into talk about a "cyborg", defining it as a "a cybernetic organsm, a hybrid of machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction." She continues to describe it as a "creature in a post-gender world; it has no truck with bisexuality, pre-oedipal symbiosis, unalienated labour, or other seductions to organic wholeness through a final appropriation of all the powers of the parts into a higher unity."
In chapter four of his book Convergence Culture, Henry Jenkins writes about fans using the Star Wars universe for their own videos or literature, and LucasFlims prohibiting parts of this appropriation. This battle between the producers and the consumers raises the question, who has the rights to these media productions such as the Star Wars movies? Is it the producers who create them, or is it the consumers who have grown up with them, explored them, and may better understand them?
I watched the South Park episode "Over-Logging (On)" recently, in which the characters find that the Internet has suddenly disappeared. Pandemonium ensues. No-one, not even the TV news anchors, remembers how to get news, and some of the characters journey to California in a Great Depression era migration spoof to try and find some Internet there.
However, if for some reason the internet really did disappear (maybe due to some flesh-and-fiber optic cable-eating bacteria?), what would happen? Could our society easily go back to normal?