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Introducing the Nacirema
- Major rituals known as “strecnoc”
- Often involve drug-induced ecstatic experiences (from “anaujiram” and other mind-altering substances)
- Ritual platforms called “egats”
From Amusing Ourselves to Death by Neil Postman:
"We were keeping our eye on 1984. When the year came and the prophecy didn't, thoughtful Americans sang softly in praise of themselves. The roots of liberal democracy had held. Wherever else the terror had happened, we, at least, had not been visited by Orwellian nightmares. But we had forgotten that alongside Orwell's dark vision, there was another - slightly older, slightly less well known, equally chilling: Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Contrary to common belief even among the educated, Huxley and Orwell did not prophesy the same thing. Orwell warns that we will be overcome by an externally imposed oppression. But in Huxley's vision, no Big Brother is required to deprive people of their autonomy, maturity and history. As he saw it, people will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think. What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny "failed to take into account man's almost infinite appetite for distractions". In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us. This book is about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right."
Media Ecology: Media mediate relationships.
For a long time, TV was the place where our culture's conversations took place,
even the important ones,
all of which were punctuated by 30 second commercials,
creating a culture of irrelevance, incoherence, and impotence.
So what about now? 25 years later?
We see disengagement. Why?
There is a long history to this (sociology of anomie)
TV and the "Whatever" generation.
Jean Twenge calls it "Generation Me"
But more than disengagement and narcissism, this generation struggles to find identity and recognition in a society in which these things are not automatically given.
This search for the authentic self leads to 2 slides: towards ...
1. “self-centered modes of self-fulfilment”
disengagement 2. “negation of all horizons of significance” fragmentation
End by reflecting on the lecture. How did you become you?
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|cyardley||Nacimera and Generation Me thoughts...make up work||0||Sep 18 2010, 6:28 PM EDT by cyardley|
Thread started: Sep 18 2010, 6:28 PM EDT Watch
After reading the Nacimera article I have a few thoughts. Firstly, the article seems to be very outdated as far as some of the current "Nacimera" customs and culture. Women nowadays do not tend to hide their pregnancies, but rather celebrate the physical and life changes that come along with it. Fashion trends, websites, and books make pregnancy much less of a taboo than in the 1950's when this article was written. Also, medical knowledge has come a long way since the 50's as well. Hospitals and dentists have more advanced practices and are less feared than before. However, the segment we read does force us to take a look at our own culture from an outside perspective and see ourselves in ways we never have before. Other cultures seem much less strange when we can look at our own culture from the outside.
The Me Generation made me think about the saying (which I probably saw on a bumper sticker) that said "I am special, just like everybody else". It does seems true that young Americans are extremely self-centered and have focused entirely on themselves. I think self-confidence and self-love are great things, but perhaps we have lost some of the relationships and values that enforced family values and community cohesiveness. These relationships, which are often so central to many cultures, are disintegrating before our eyes. An article in Newsweek sums it up well: "..we've built up the confidence of our kids, but in that process, we've created a generation of hot-house flowers puffed with a disproportionate sense of self-worth (the definition of narcissism) and without the resiliency skills they need when Mommy and Daddy can't fix something."
|rwalmann||Make Up Assignment||0||Sep 9 2010, 2:47 PM EDT by rwalmann|
Thread started: Sep 9 2010, 2:47 PM EDT Watch
Make up Assignment: For this lesson, I chose the media and society since we were talking about how the media shapes our culture and ourselves.
The first book I researched was "The Media Society" by Everette Dennis. Dennis speaks in great detail about how the media has formed us. The media used to be in a very minute area of our lives and now the media is everywhere in our personal lives as well. Dennis claims that there is a holistic view that is lacking from the media. I strongly agree with this opinion because we too often only get one side of the story. Dennis focuses mainly on HOW we are being persuaded into believing certain advertisements, or media "truths".
Secondly, Elizabeth M. Perse wrote a novel "Media Effects and Society". Here, she focuses more on the aftermath of the effects of the media on our society, including our parents, children, and grandchildren. She discusses the matter of short term versus long term effects. She states that even short term effects can be life changing - for example, if a violent commercial causes someone to get in a fight damaging results can appear (21). She focuses a lot on child development and character growth from the media as well. "Socialization is based on learning", she states (151). She also claims that young children can not effectively "learn" from the television because they do not know how to grasp concepts yet however teenagers and gullible tweens can. With most of what is occurring in our societal output - who would want their children to watch a show that could potentially negatively effect their self esteem and body image among other things?
In both of these instances Dennis and Perse discuss the implications of having a media-filled life. Ultimately, if one absorbs enough one may begin to believe it and accommodate these behaviors into every day life.
|Brooke1673||Nacirema||0||Sep 8 2010, 12:42 AM EDT by Brooke1673|
Thread started: Sep 8 2010, 12:42 AM EDT Watch
I loved this lecture about the American culture, or the Nacirema. It is fascinating that Prof. Wesch found the example of the Nacirema and made me open my eyes and view another culture completely unbiasedly until I realized it was my own culture the article spoke of. My favorite part of the lecture was the history of the word "whatever." It shows that time and culture can affect everything, including the evolution of a word. The final slides that spoke about America today as a society searching for an identity, but not really knowing how to find it or where to even begin to look because we are so disengaged as a culture is very true. I love that he brought in the lyrics from a popular song to start off the lecture and to finish it as well. I know it is interesting to me to try and think "what makes me me?" and after sitting and thinking about what makes me who I am I realize just how much culture and societal influences have on me.
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