John Hopkins on Wed, 16 Oct 2013 09:56:02 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Pascal Zachary: Rules for the Digital Panopticon (IEEE)

HI Florian --

In 2013, we're watching this history repeat itself as a farce. Many
people (myself included) are flabbergasted by the lack of mass-scale
protest against the government programs disclosed by Snowden. It
seems as if two

Speaking from the Belly of the Beast (semi-rural Arizona, next to
Idaho and Alaska in terms of right-wing folks), the media consumption
and actual media content here is literally stunning -- the volume on
shouting heads (never-mind talking heads!!!) has the media consumer
floating like a half-dead fish on the surface after dynamite in the
water... It's coming from all directions, and just wait for maybe next
week, when Social Security checks stop. There will be (armed) people
on the streets... I see evidences of Empire in serious decline and
I believe this strange passive-aggressivity will only increase as a
feature of the whole damn thing. Where I am the dominant sentiment is
not a far stretch from rural Afghanistan where many folks are heavily
armed in their homes. Much more than an AK-47 for every man...

FYI, my friend, the writer George Saunders had a great book out a
couple years ago with the lead short story "The Braindead Megaphone"
which explores the chilling scenario from a harsh satirical pov... but
this shit is serious...

You are only flabberghasted 'cause, maybe, you maybe believed a tiny
bit of the 'US exceptionalism' mythology... The reality of Empire is
... the reality of Empire.

Teaching a mixed group of third year Bachelor-level students of
informatics, media technology and media design, I learned that
even most of them did not know or understand systems like PRISM,
commercial mining of personal data and big data operations.

I stepped away from teaching (several Digital Art courses and a course
titled "Meaning of Information Technology"* at the University of
Colorado Boulder this year because of a deep inability on the part
of the students that I had to engage in any critical discourse about
technology, period. Of course, as a learning facilitator, I'm supposed
to be able to make this happen, but there was another dynamic apparent
-- that even the possibility (the concept!) critical engagement was
not available to the students -- perhaps as a result of the "No Child
Left Behind" educational policies of the Bush Regime which emphasized
teaching to tests. For the first time in my 25+ years teaching path, I
gave up.

The brightest students were left to literally go crazy trying to
extract something meaningful from their (corporate) educational

* It was a survey seminar for a "Technology
Arts & Media" minor -- syllabus @
-- I had students from practically every major on campus both
humanities and sci/eng people. Facilitating a collaborative and open
knowledge-building process was definitely a question of moving against
a strong current...


Dr. John Hopkins, BSc, MFA, PhD
ensconced, unarmed and dangerous, in an
ultra-conservative stronghold

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