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Showing posts from August, 2010

What to do when history is not on your side?

I can’t believe we’re going through this again.In January 2005, Time magazine featured on its cover a photo of a young man in a shirt and dress slacks sitting in a sandbox. The headline: “They Just Won’t Grow Up.” The article featured the research of one Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, PhD, a developmental psychologist who coined the term “emerging adulthood” to explain these puzzling, infantilized adults.The cover story of the New York Times Magazine this weekend, already situated snugly at the top of the Most-Emailed List, is a near-exact repeat of this story from 5 years ago, this time asking “What is it About Twenty-Somethings?” Again Arnett is the resident featured expert. The Times’ only innovation, besides the slightly higher quality of the writing and the greater length, is tarting up the article with lots of sexy pictures of 20somethings (“I’m lying on my bed, all angsty! Look down my shirt!”) so readers can lust after them while simultaneously shaking their heads.[. . .]There is no …

Thoughts on "The Switch"

(Originally posted at Movieline.com)Wallie tries to explain to Cassie what he had done, essentially immediately after he recalls his having made the switch 6 years before. Cold sober, chilled but vividly intent, he is well on the way to explaining ... and then the movie takes his moment away from him. Very evident that he is in the effort of trying to say something of huge import that he fears will damage both of their lives thereafter, that could ruin everything they shared between one another before then, the movie has her recoil away when her own embarrassing admission "demands" she suddenly stop him in his effort and squirrel back inside her apartment. Better, the movie seems to think, that he make his sin clear at a moment when it would look more last-straw and inadequate, which would allow her to announce that future contact would be under her terms and you wouldn't feel that she would even in this still be reckoning with someone with real "sand." She rel…

Xbox your movie

Xbox your movie3D will interest when it seems linked to an argument that the whole experience of BEING TOLD a story for two hours straight needs explanation, when the possibility might be opened up that you could rather play a part in the movie-world you've "entered." Right now, we're on the wall somewhere -- a camera, a microphone. Attending, listening -- not a chance to further participate until the movie-world shuts down and we're talking about it a reality away. If 3D takes us more transparently into the world, maybe we'll soon insist on having a voice there as well. But if this isn't already our inkling, 3D alone won't take us there, though. You're more immersed, but still straight-jacketed. Even if it comes to the art film, this may not be progress.How might we redeem the turn from watching a film to actively living / experiencing / determining a new reality -- making it reality -- so that it doesn't seem a freedom craved only by the fin…

When people are porn

My story has occasioned a healthy amount of reaction around the web, including from TED and Chris Anderson himself.First, the snark: Maura at The Awl (a commentary site run by ex-Gawkers) calls the story “breathless” and “smug”. Most of the commentators admit that they enjoy watching TED talks anyway. I batted back with some snark of my own but also tried to answer what i took as her serious point, which was that TED seems just as elitist as the old-line institutions it’s being compared with:“I actually think we have similar concerns about elitism vs. openness.My contention is that many of the cool things that TED does spread more widely than the cool things that Harvard does, because of its attitude toward openness and its use of social media.
Harvard has a crappy open courseware site–it’s very difficult to find and view many Harvard lectures online. MIT has the best open courseware site, but even the most-watched video lectures have been watched a few hundred K times, while the most…

How eager should we expect the civilized to be?

“The essence of learning is found neither inside nor outside the classroom, neither online nor offline. It’s in the flow from lived experience and practice, to listening, researching, and sharing the fruits of your work with a community and back out to the world again. Now that so much high-quality information is available for free–like the 1,900 courses on MIT Open Courseware–and platforms to allow people to exchange words, images and sound online are exploding in use, many of us are excited about the possibilities of self-organized education that is pared down to this essence, thus affordable, efficient and accessible. But whether or not you attend a traditional university, you will need to trace this path again and again, from experience to theory, from empirical to abstract, from action to reflection, from real to ideal, in order to keep learning throughout your life.Today there’s a lot of emphasis on getting the best value for money in higher education. This is important. But the…