Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

 
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Tuesday, Apr 6, 2010

There’s much to be said about Facebook—some negative, a lot laudatory—but one thing I haven’t seen much mentioned is its ability to enable us to travel more freely, in a substantial way. Surely, more substantively, more palpably, than other mediations in which we are standing still, passively processing. I’m thinking here mainly about TV, of course, which enables flitting contact with people and places—but which is all rather random and beyond viewer control. Even when we are “at” the game, it is filtered, stylized, modified, held at arm’s length.


So, too, might, the “traditional” Internet, 1.0, apply—where a huge amount of energy and time has to be sunk and opportunity costs incurred to make any deep connection with peoples and places. And even then, since there is no 2.0 capability, there is still a distance that can’t easily be bridged. The best one might say for 1.0 is that there are possibilities for deep connect, but it requires work: thought, gumption, and not a small amount of perseverance.


 




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Monday, May 21, 2007







Well, I’m back (which is actually Eminem’s line, not Freddy’s). I wonder if you’ve wondered about what happened and where I’ve been . . .


Pregnant pause and bruised feelings later, I move to explain.


I had this idea, you might recall, of helping you along with hints to let you know where I’d been. As if anyone cared. But it was something to do with my brain, to keep it peripatetic, a way to spend some time – or so I thought. What I found, though – aside from being much too busy to sit and spin tales sufficient to connect the dots—was that it was hard to locate enough clues that wouldn’t immediately give it away; places being specific enough as to tag their essence. When it comes to locale, there are few generic ontologies – every city, every country, has its own cultural fingerprint. There are dialects, license plates, weather patterns, indigenous foliage; even MacDonalds has its regional cuisines.


At the same time, curves can be thrown. The image above, of Freddie, from Elm Street fame, was actually snapped on a street in Sendai, Japan. Imagine that. And, in fact, though I had intended that Freddie shot to serve as my last ironic clue in the hide-and-seek game of where I was (as Freddie’s place of origin was basically where my peripatetic feet had planted my bod), it was something more than irony that the sign of the “there” I visited was encountered in the “here” where I generally roost. More than irony, though; there is something in that statue about confluence, about unity; in short, about our modern condition.


”Global connectedness” being the intellectual shorthand. The conclusion: that this is not a hermetic place, this world we share. Elements of one culture can, and often do, exist in others.


 


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