english and media centre | February 2009 |
the foreign-ness ofdigital tech-nologies
According to thetheory, the internethas made globalmedia citizens ofus all, and our ICTlessons have givenus the technologyskills of ‘digitalnatives’. But what ifyou’re not a ‘digitalnative’? What if the‘language’ of yourMac, mobile phone,or MP3 player isforeign to you? Ithappens to many ofus, even those whoare supposedly inthe vanguard of newtechnologies – asNew Media student
I like writing for
. Theypublish articles of abroad persuasion (mineat least) – and they pay!So when I opened up myvacuum timetable (I’m astudent) and found theIssue 27 deadline looming,I rejoiced and vowed to fillmy afternoon’s void with‘thinking’. Thinking of anidea for an article withinthe issue’s theme of the‘Foreign’. Foreign films? Tooobvious. Foreign objects? Too classified. Foreignpolicies regarding themonopolization of globalmedia? Too much like hardwork.It had been a long timesince I’d thought so deeplyabout a subject and I soonran out of phrases with theword ‘foreign’ in. Then, all of a sudden, as I was typing itinto Google, my Macintoshmade that ever-so-familiar and demoralizing‘SOMETHING’S WRONG!’sound. It isn’t a meansound, really, just a littlereverberating
, but itmay as well whisper coldlyinto your ear
’you look ugly when you cry’,
due simply toits association with pendingdoom.It seemed the fingertipslither of internet-connection strength thatholds on for dear life allday long had slipped andfallen as usual.
goesthe computer and downI go to unplug/re-plugthe router or modem orwhatever the thing that sitson the windowsill in thelounge is called. I wait fora moment to let it gatherits thoughts, then shufflethe aerial – loosen himup – get the blood flowing.Should I point it out ontothe street or up towardsmy bedroom? Does it sendor receive? I rush back upstairs, leaving all the doorsopen in the hope that it’llfollow me up. Whatever it is.Magic. The world wide web!
, with KeanuReeves!
goes the computer.I wait; maybe it is stillclimbing up the back of the default Macintoshdesktop image that I’venever figured out howto change. But nothing– just empty grey bars of potential and that soporific-blue computer-generatedfranchise-pizza-restaurant-art staring back at me. SteveJobs probably Photoshopsthem himself. He probablyprints them out and sticksthem on the fridge overthe top of his children’spaintings.
the global village idiot