I can for sure say that this topic that we discussed for this week of class peaked, and kept my interest. It’s a topic that many people still have some hard feelings over including myself. The overarching topic we talked about was the all mighty minstrel show. The shows that depicted my people as slow and uneducated, but surly entertaining. The craziest part about it was it wasn’t any type of uncle toms to start out, but it was white men depicted as us as they would black face their faces. Sure it was entertainment, and sure they put on a great show, and a lot of music that set the foundation of our countries genre’s came from it, but you have to think at what cost though. The cultivation theory comes to mind when talking about this topic because though some people could separate the show from actual life, a lot of people couldn’t, and that’s how they perceived black, and brown people when they dealt with them. Black and brown people couldn’t be taken as seriously as they should be with a show like this. White people definitely looked down on black and brown people because of this show. Sure it wasn’t all white people at all including some of the people who were in the minstrel shows as they saw it as strictly entertainment, and some even saw it as an outlet to bring the music of black people to the light, but again you have to ask yourself at what cost because it was very evident that many people who saw the show had the mentality that black people were below them, and it only further that rhetoric. Though I can admit they put on a performance for sure, I hate the idea of the show, and how my people, black and brown people were depicted. No matter what anyone says, they didn’t have to put on black faces to do what they did, they could’ve just displayed their talents as the white men that they were, and I know it was an avenue for even some black people, but I know me personally I couldn’t do it because that’s the way that people perceived my people being all of the time, and it made black and brown people look bad overall. My point is though the show was filled with talented people, and is the core of a lot of American music, the show could’ve been put on with out the depiction of black and brown people being the way it was.
Remember last week when I said that lesson had it’s dry spells, well this week definitely one upped it. Like the week prior, there is a lot of necessary information to understand for this course that we discussed, but that doesn’t take away the fact that this was a week of class that was tough to sit through. That doesn’t mean it didn’t have parts that I found interesting cause it did, and that’s what I’m going to go more in depth about.
One thing that was kind of interesting to me was the information theory that Claude Shannon brought to light. As was stated in class Shannon believed that if something was said over and over again it loses it’s meaning, and he also believed that everything can be reduced to information by stripping the meaning of it to fit whatever purpose it’s needed for. He has a point with what he said when I think about it. At first I was thinking this isn’t necessarily true because there are many thing I don’t believe lose it’s meaning after being said or done over, and over again if the correct action is put behind it. For example, if someone said they loved basketball, and they go out and ball almost everyday, that statement still means something years down the road just as it did when that person first picked up a ball. Then we did the example in class with garage band, and then my perspective changed a little bit. When professor showed how easy it was in the he could sample the gospel song in his beat that he made on the fly just to make a dope beat, I definitely saw what Shannon meant. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sampling because many songs that I listen to have samples throughout them from words to how the beat is done, and with that said depending on the song the sample doesn’t lose it’s initial meaning, but a good amount of times it does. You have many instances where a sample is just used to make a dope instrumental in which there is no meaning behind that. Overall I do agree with his statement to a point because I believe it depends on the subject matter, and how that information is used.
The other thing that peaked my interest was the information on hypertext, and browsing the internet. I never really just sat down to understand how all of this came about, and who was behind it. Tim Berners Lee was a lot more innovative than I thought he was, and if people don’t know who he is they should take the time to get to now because he had a lot to do with something we use daily. He came up with the web browser. I’m sure when he created it he knew it was going to be innovative, and life changing, but maybe not to the extent that it is today. That invention really took off in a major way as we now know. Even within the first few years it went from 130 websites to over 200,000 which is incredible in itself. I respect Berners Lee because he didn’t want the internet to turn out how it did turn out in being like TV with a bunch of ads, but rather a place where people can share information without worry, I can’t tell you enough how annoying it is that we have all of the ads that we have while browsing the internet. The fact that someone, or a system is tracking your moves as well is a little weird. I understand it’s done to make browsing easier so it can be more catered to the things that you are interested in, but to just have been on footlocker for example, and look at a shoe or two, then go over to ESPN, and see a ad about that same shoe on the side of the page is weird. There is no better word to describe it other than that. It’s even more annoying when you see ads you don’t want to see, and it seems impossible to click out of it, so it kind of sucks that web browsing couldn’t have stayed the way Berners Lee initially wanted it to be. Again, class for this week may have been pretty dry, but the great thing about this class is since we are talking about technology it doesn’t stay too dry for long especially with the videos and examples given.
What can I say about this week of class? Well for starters there was a lot of information that was given that can definitely be considered important in the grand scheme of things when it comes to our knowledge of our technological past, but I’m not going to lie the topic was pretty dry overall. I did find one concept pretty interesting though, and that was the concept I believe that came from Max Weber in pretty much saying the more individualized that you are the less free you truly are. I’m not sure if I agree with that assertion though, and his reasoning is honestly kind of suspect in my opinion. That assertion was that when you are individualized you are grouped into a much larger group which is a way of tracking people. Within that assertion I agree that it will probably be easier to track an individual who stands out, but to say that you are less free being an individual is ridiculous to me. How can you be grouped into a larger group if you’re being authentically yourself? That shouldn’t be possible.
Another thing that was interesting was the conversation on the Military industrial Complex. I heard of it a few times before being in this class, but I never took the time to really understand what it was. To now know it’s the conjunction of the government, and our military, it makes more sense to me. The interesting thing about the Military industrial complex is that out of it came the development of computers and the internet, and it was all due to the Cold War. The last thing that really peaked my interest was the origin of the G.I. Bill. In my first few semesters in college I was able to use some of my fathers G.I. Bill he received through his military service so when the topic was brought up I was intrigued. All this time I didn’t realize that the Cold War was the reason the G.I. Bill came into existence. What makes it even more interesting is the fact that having a degree became more mandatory due to the Cold War and the G.I. Bill. The Cold Wars impact on our country is pretty incredible when you think about it, so much of what we use and take for granted today is a result of this race against Russia. Though the overall lesson had many dry spells involved in it, there is a lot of information that I now know because of this weeks lesson.
The main subject matters for Week 3 of class was the book by Carr we had to read called the Shallows, and Idealism vs Realism. Very great conversations that we had, and I enjoyed sitting back and listening to everyone’s views on the subject matter. Well here is my in depth perspective on the subject matter that we’ve discussed in class.
The major aspect of Carr’s book that had me thinking was his assertion that modern people have no attention span, and can’t focus on a particular thing like a book for a long period of time. At first when I looked at his though process of course I felt like dang this guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about, but when I thought about his thought process I found myself agreeing to an extent. I agree that we don’t have that great of an attention span cause we as people get easily distracted. Even while writing this I had to check my phone a few times, look up at the football game I have in the background, and thought about other random things that have nothing to do with this blog post. With that said he has a point, but he’s not totally correct in my opinion. I think it depends on what exactly we as people are doing. For example if we’re reading something of interest we’re more prone to pay attention, and keep our attention on that book than if we’re reading something that we really don’t care about, or are assigned to read (cough cough Carr’s book). I do agree with Carr when he talked about the world that we know it would cease to exist without mass literacy. Literacy is very important as we try to understand the world of the past present and future. Without literacy we would still have stories about history and what happened, but the mediums of the stories would be heavily distorted as it would be based on peoples memories rather than what is written. Now that doesn’t mean that people couldn’t remember facts and stories, but without literacy it would be harder to figure out if something actually happened or not, or if a story has any truth to it. Though I say this, that doesn’t mean that each thing written down has some truth to it, but it’s an easier way to keep records when something is written down.
Idealism vs Realism was the other topic of discussion in class. Based off of the discussions in class, I would definitely consider myself an idealist if I had to pick. I am not religious, but I have a genuine relationship with Christ which many people will perceive as religious, but to be a true Christian its never been about a religion, but a honest lifestyle trying to serve Christ, and serve people the best way possible. So in saying all that, yes I definitely have an ideal that I do seek which is Heaven. It can’t be reached on earth because the world is so messed up, and full of sin, but there is hope for better even if it can’t be reached in this life we live on Earth. The realist to me isn’t necessarily bad at all in my opinion, but the thing I don’t agree with of course is that there isn’t an ideal. I don’t like to be a person that boxes myself in because I know for a fact I don’t agree with every idealist, even those who consider themselves Christians, but I couldn’t be a realist by definition. Something about being a realist seems lost, and misguided, but I respect their thought process as they try to figure out things logically. I believe you can think logically, and be an idealist, but apparently you can’t really think that way by the definition of the two words. That’s why I don’t liked to be boxed in into being one or the other. It’s almost like the liberal and conservative views, many would automatically think that I’m a conservative because that’s what people think of when it comes to American Christianity, but that’s not the case because I don’t like a lot of things about the conservative party, same thing with the liberal side, i agree with somethings but disagree with a good amount of things as well, I’m not with either side, though some would probably try to label me more of a liberal which I’m not. That’s how I look at this argument of Idealist, or realist, but I definitely would consider myself more of an idealist than a realist. Does it sound like I contradicted myself, I don’t know that’s for you to decide, but I said what I said. Definitely looking forward to what we have to discuss in the weeks ahead.