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ENGL 680N ‣ Patti Poblete ‣ 06 February 2012. “[Facebook] grew because it gave people something they wanted. All that stuff that the Internet enabled.

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Presentation on theme: "ENGL 680N ‣ Patti Poblete ‣ 06 February 2012. “[Facebook] grew because it gave people something they wanted. All that stuff that the Internet enabled."— Presentation transcript:

1 ENGL 680N ‣ Patti Poblete ‣ 06 February 2012

2 “[Facebook] grew because it gave people something they wanted. All that stuff that the Internet enabled you to leave behind, all the trappings of ordinary bourgeois existence – your job, your family, your background? On Facebook, you take it with you. It’s who you are. “…The masked-ball period of the Internet is ending. Where people led double lives, real and virtual, now they lead single ones again.” – Lev Grossman, Time, 15 December 2010


4 what are we doing here?

5 “…critical media theory is possible when it occupies the trap of its emergence, not when it offers happy solutions…and not when it presumes that an analysis of entrapment or capture is the same thing as escape…. “In the reflexive networks of communicative capitalism, a media theory that is critical has to forswear the affective enterprise of contributing the feeling-impulses of hope and reassurance and offer thinking instead” (32).

6 blog settings

7  “…contemporary communications media capture their users in intensive and extensive networks of enjoyment, production, and surveillance…. “Communicative capitalism is that economic- ideological form wherein reflexivity captures creativity and resistance so as to enrich the few as it placates and diverts the many” (3-4).

8  “The contemporary setting of electronically mediated subjectivity is one of infinite doubt, ultimate reflexivization” (6).  “It’s like the feast of information results in a more fundamental starvation as one loses the sense of an underlying Real” (8).  “Hence, we know we impact the world, but we don’t know exactly how” (11).

9  “Even if geeks are ‘about’ justice and equality, the consequence of the widespread adoption and extension of their work is the most extreme economic inequality the world has ever known” (23).  “Refusing to acknowledge their actions as political, they subjected the state instead to their moralizing gaze. They were political actors who denied their politics” (25).

10  “For Jameson and Zizek, the vanishing mediator is a transitional figure – of an institution, practice, idea – that accounts for a fundamental change” (26).  “Rather than participating in this disappearance, the ‘displaced mediator’ designates mediators whose functions have been displaced from what appears (retroactively) as their previous role” (27).

11 the death of blogging

12  “A sure sign of the triumph of a practice or idea is the declaration of its death” (33).  “Blogging is parasitic, narcissistic, and pointless – and this is why internet users all over the world blog in ever-increasing numbers” (37).  Blogipelago. Blogipelago. Try saying it out loud. Blogipelago.

13  “Desire is always a desire to desire, a desire that can never be filled, a desire for a jouissance that can never be attained.  “In contrast, drive attains jouissance in the repetitive process of not reaching it. Failure (or the thwarting of the aim) provides its own sort of success.  “…failure produces enjoyment” (40).

14  “Faced with the challenge of providing a trusted guide through a chaotic, indeterminable, changing field, search engines say ‘trust the algorithm.’ In contrast, blogs say, ‘trust doesn’t scale.’  “Social network sites refract the problem of trust yet again: if the issue with blogs is the credibility of the guide or writer, the issue for social network sites is trust in the audience, in the others who might be following me” (43).

15  “…what sort of exhibitionistic narcissist would inflict it on the entire world? Understood in terms of personal diaries, blogs seem but another aspect of the reality television craze…  “Bloggers generally lack the ethics and skills associated with professional journalism. Few do new and original reporting but instead remediate the findings of real journalists as they mix into them their own strident, often vicious, points of view” (45).

16 whatever blogging

17  “As bloggers we expose ourselves, our feelings and experiences, loves and hates, desires and aversion. Yet we often write as if we’ve opened ourselves to nearly no one, to just a select few, to a small community of those we trust, perhaps because we cannot see them” (64).  “In short, blogging relies on a fantasy of exposure without exposure correlative to the indistinguishable mass of the singularly unique” (65).

18  “Whatever beings do not shed or overcome their identities in an experience of massness. They already lack them. They can simply be as they are” (81).  “Participation becomes indistinguishable from personalization, the continued cultivation of one’s person. Leave your mark” (82).

19  “Contemporary networked media perform and repeat communicativity as such, the taking place of language….Posts may link and gesture, but they don’t represent themselves or anything else. They are expressions, such that they are” (88).  Word-clouds shift away from a space of linguistically constituted meaning, away from a language constituted out of sentences that are uttered in contexts according to rules that can be discerned and contested” (89).

20 affective networks

21  “…the anxiety about victimization construes blogging per se as an activity that victimizes and harms regardless of any particular content. The practice of blogging itself is harmful” (91).  “Blaming our failure to enjoy on bloggers thus compensates us for our failure by promising that were it not for the bloggers we would enjoy. Our failure, our insecurity, is not our fault” (92).

22  “…media of affective flow can be limited neither to their content nor to their materiality. Understanding them requires attending to their doubling as message and contribution and grappling with the ways that the latter’s displacement of the former amplifies the chaotic, intensive, circulation of enjoyment even as it diminishes the impact of any single contribution” (102).

23  “…they displace attention from the fact that the multiple elements of our contemporary media ecology are already fragments and parts ready for recombination.”  “Constant communication is an obligation. Every interaction, transaction, inaction, reaction is construed in terms of a conversation” (110).

24 unsurprisingly, what I really wanted to do was blog about blog theory

25  How annoying was it that Dean used “he” as her generic pronoun almost exclusively?  Who was freaked out when Walter Ong popped up? Not that he shouldn’t be cited, but how’d a political scientist get a hold of secondary orality?  How does Dean’s field, political science, inform the interpretive lenses she uses? How does it inform the way we interpret her interpretive lens?

26  Do what extent can/do we buy into the idea of communicative capitalism?  To whom are the geeks accountable?  How often do you hit “refresh” after posting something?  Adam Strantz doesn’t mind being under constant surveillance. How weird is that?  How does Dean’s critique of social networking mesh with our own experiences currently?

27  Is “whatever” really a neutral communicative utterance?  Facebook super-recently became a public company. While this doesn’t entirely mesh with communicative capitalism, to what extent does that idea interact with the constant monetization of the blogipelago?  Does the growth of data visualization help or hinder the problem of expertise/falsification/ reflexivity?

28  To what extent is Dean warranted in her concern about discussion precluding action?  Does the establishment of new (?) critical media theory warrant the hostility that Dean sometimes performs? Or is that all performative as well?  “Old media sought to deliver messages. “New media just circulate” (121). True or false?  How do I teach that?

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