Posts Tagged ‘Amusing Ourselves to Death’

The possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right

March 1, 2010

I mentioned Neil Postman’s book Amusing Ourselves to Death, in my initial Why debatorium? post. His point about the possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right seems very poignant now that Facebook has passed Google (Holy Crap! Facebook has passed Google).

The possibility that Huxley, not Orwell, was right

There’s great story board by Steve McMillen from last year which, illustrates the foreword to Postman’s thought provoking book and you can see it here.

Why debatorium?

February 28, 2010

Well, firstly I was struggling to think of name for a blog, which could act as a repository for my bookmarks. It also follows on from a Facebook group I set-up in early 2009 called debatable, which was an attempt to use crowdsourcing for an article I was asked to write for iMedia Connection about Twitter (see Twittering or twattering? Our survey says…).¬†Actually, the ‘experiment’ proved to be a lot more time consuming than if I’d written it unaided, but the debate that ensued was a lot of fun; and I got some great quotes, including the following one from my wife’s cousin:

“Didn’t Nietzsche say, ‘Soon everyone will learn to read and write, and that will be the death of language’? Brilliantly offensive. I’m sure he had Twitter in mind. The morbidly self-obsessed screeching to the morbidly self-obsessed in bite-sized chunks.”

Nothing like having a contribution from an Oxbridge philosophy PhD to stir things up, and he also introduced me to Neil Postman’s book Amusing Ourselves to Death, which is very much appreciated as it showed me that there’s a history of critical analysis as far as technological progress/techno-determinism, is concerned. This was important discovery because I couldn’t help thinking that ‘the conversation’ about Web 2.0 and the open/free culture moment was getting caught up in a vortex of self-affirming opinion, and as General Patton once said:

“If everyone is thinking the same thing, someone is not thinking?”

I also hope this ‘research’ exercise will introduce new voices and re-introduce some old ones, bringing different perspectives to the table, particularly regarding the discussion of ways in which technology can help us be more connected and collaborative – for better or for worse!