A Farewell Excerpt

Discuss

13 Responses to “A Farewell Excerpt”

  1. LightningRose says:

    I did not find the excerpts from your book either alarmist or negative, but I did find them naive and/or ignorant. I will be dis-recommending this book to anyone who asks.

  2. Cowicide says:

    I’m still a concerned that too many people here have gotten the wrong idea about what I’m hoping to accomplish with my new book. Something about being told to “Program or Be Programmed” has come off as alarmist or negative, which is not my intent.

    Jeez, people are silly. I took the title to mean that it’s a good idea for people to be less passive consumers and become more creative and engaged. Then again, I consider myself a relatively critical thinker.

    Douglas, I’m sorry you got between some sedentary people and their greasy hamburgers and junk TV. It’s a dangerous place, I suppose. But at least they’re pretty slow in a chase (mentally or physically).

    • Douglas Rushkoff says:

      Yeah, well, it takes all kinds. Imagine what Dewey went through. And people still consider him naive for believing that Americans could someday be educated enough to utilize the democratic process.

      People reading online get hung up and angry really fast. It’s one of the biases of the technology, and one of the main ones I end up talking about in the book. It’s like living with Asperger’s.

      The only real problem is that some posters present as experts in a subject when they’re not, or they respond to the first clause in a sentence without seeing the second – so anxious to share their expertise that they apply it in all situations. But sometimes a sentence that seems to be heading one way actually heads in another before it’s done. And that’s a form of writing that may simply not work in this space.

      I think the initial upset was from some misinterpretations of the analog/digital recording debate. As an audio engineer from 1983 to around 1992, I actually do know both sides of that argument and how these technologies work. And I even used to work at a post studio in LA that had a “digital warming” service – where all we did was take digital film score master tapes and record them to analog and then back to digital. They charged like two hundred bucks a minute, too.

      My point was really just that analog recordings are a physical event, while digital recordings are stored as sets of symbols. Both have their uses, but the inability to distinguish the two is a problem, I think.

      And people are also a bit stuck on the idea that having to learn to program is akin to learning how a car or oven works. When it’s really much more like learning a language. There’s a whole other language going on. What we used to think of as language – as our medium – has just become the content for a new one. We don’t have to be aware of it, for sure. And we certainly dont’ have to know how to speak it. But if we come to some understanding of how it works, we will be in a much better position to participate in a digital society.

      • teufelsdroch says:

        The only real problem is that some posters present as experts in a subject when they’re not, or they respond to the first clause in a sentence without seeing the second – so anxious to share their expertise that they apply it in all situations.

        That’s Gladwell’s definition of genius.

        Not to mention that your 10 inches of response comically self-refer to the very same ‘real problem’.

        Here’s my real problem: how is the Rushkoff who produced the excellent ‘Digital Nation’ the same as the person who
        consistently posts bs
        here?

        What we used to think of as language – as our medium – has just become the content for a new one. We don’t have to be aware of it, for sure. And we certainly dont’ have to know how to speak it. But if we come to some understanding of how it works, we will be in a much better position to participate in a digital society.

        I’ve read that several times, and I can’t see anything other than, “If you can’t code, you can’t be part of a working 21st century democracy.”

        Does that seem likely?

  3. PaulR says:

    Well, Douglas, mark me down as someone who agrees with you.

    I’ve never understood that attitude that somehow, you’re better off if you don’t understand how the world/things/systems work(s).

    If you ask me, you can often add “Governement” to the list of things (money and banking and religion) that weren’t devised for most of us, but rather some of the few. A number of powerful people view government’s purpose as a means of transferring money from the many to the few. Mind you, that’s roughly the theme of your discourse on currency of the realm, no?

  4. bradmofo says:

    >> “operating systems that lived right alongside Google’s iPad”.

    Um hello?

    • Anonymous says:

      What, you don’t have one yet? Still using that primitive Apple gadget?

      Barbarian. You probably don’t even have a heartplug yet.

  5. Anonymous says:

    “Our screens are the windows through which we are experiencing, organizing, and interpreting the world in which we live. They are also the interfaces through which we express who we are and what we believe to everyone else. They are fast becoming the boundaries of our perceptual and conceptual apparatus; the edge between our nervous systems and everyone else’s, our understanding of the world and the world itself. And they have been created entirely by us.”

    Um, wow. I guess this type of thinking separates the geeks from the non-geeks. My mind is the the window through which I experience, organize,and interpret the world. McLuhan was a great guy and I love his metaphor about technology becoming an extension of the human nervous system. But let’s remember its only a metaphor.

    Much love to all.

  6. teufelsdroch says:

    I always tell my students that wikipedia is an invalid source and they cannot use it–unless they edit the page themselves.

    My thinking seems to be the same as yours, Rushkoff: if you view the internet as something anyone ELSE can change, it’s gonna rot your brain. If you view it as something YOU change that’s somehow different entirely.

    The rest of the argument reminds me of Videodrome (i.e. watered down McLuhan):

    “The television screen is the retina of the mind’s eye.
    Therefore the screen is part of the physical structure of the brain.
    Therefore, whatever appears on the television screen emerges as raw experience for those who watch it.
    Therefore, television is reality and reality is less than television.
    - Max…
    I’m so glad you came to me.
    I’ve been through it all myself, you see.
    Your reality is already half video hallucination.
    If you’re not careful, it will become total hallucination.
    You’ll have to learn to live in a very strange new world.”

  7. David Pescovitz says:

    Um, that was a joke. As in, “What if someday Google bought Apple.”

  8. Douglas Rushkoff says:

    If you can’t be even moderately polite, you can’t take part in a conversation.

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