The Social Morgue
At The Headstone of Anonymity
Sailing a Strange Sea
The Internet is, in many ways, a strange and dangerous sea. We sail the ship Doubt across the tides and currents of the Sea of Information. If we cling to the coasts, we are safe from the myriad sea serpents and leviathans. The truth of this Sea, though, waits in dark and mystic waters. In those places, we can learn and grow and become true people. Pirates, though, are lurking. They wait to steal or money, our names, our faces, and our lives in a way far more horrific than death. Though these waters are a brutal and tumultuous, we sail them in spite of and often because of the dangers. Those who are media literate are skilled sailors. They separate fact from fiction, truth from trap. They ply the information trade on digital waves and numeric winds. We all must aspire to be media literate. Dangerous things wait in the dark and we must be ready for them. Our sailings were first controlled by our parents, they who were wiser and cannier with these waters. They knew the patterns of the currents and the shallow pools where they taught us to swim and sail. These labyrinthine waters do not back down easily, though. As we have grown, so too have they. Though loyal and kind, our albatrosses are unfamiliar with these waters. A guiding star is good, but knowledge of sea and sail is better, and both together are better still. To become truly media literate, we must take risks and grow accustomed to the riptides and whirlpools of the Sea of Information. We must take Doubt and our albatrosses and sail. From time to time, though, we will wreck or be boarded. In these times though, we must call out to passing ships and rebuild. In truth, media literacy is more than knowing the patterns of the sea, the moods of the albatross, or the dens where the pirates are. It is knowing when to ask for help and when to offer it.
By Gustave Dore. For the RIme of the Ancient Mariner.
Words of Media Literacy
Media Literacy invokes many different ideas.
Sailing in the Dark
By Gustave Dore. For the RIme of the Ancient Mariner.
In Coca-Cola's "America is Beautiful" Superbowl ad, they emphasizes the America's base desire of unity. They begin with a woman singing America the Beautiful in English, progressing through a variety of languages and singers, concluding again with the same English-speaking singer. These images, combined with the song and the prominent display of Coca-Cola bottles and caps, would suggest Coke's strong support of racial and social unity. To the target audience of Superbowl watchers, the commercial reaffirms America's position as some manner of social promised land; to foreign viewers, it has a more superior tone, suggesting that America's apparent Utopian position should be emulated.
Religious Fanatic Wins Logical Debate
Victor Sincevich, Postal Expert
Mon Mar 24, 2014
DALLAS – In the eighth annual Factual Arguments Round Robin Debate and Cold Beer Carry-Out, Fr. Jonny O’Meathead has once-and-for-all proven the existence of God. Using such skilled arguments as “I have experienced God’s works,” “The Bible says God made everything and everything exists, therefor God,” and “You can’t disprove God, so he must exist” Fr. O’Meathead has baffled and silenced those pesky, logical, rational, level-headed atheists.
Despite the endless stream of factual, scientific proof of Evolution, rational and reasonable arguments, and patient explanations, Fr. O’Meathead stuck to and rationalized his primitive sky spirit. As the evidence against God mounted, Fr. O’Meathead was overshadowed with the Holy Spirit. He ranted and raved, storming around the Debate center, screaming all manner of insults and irrefutable facts of theism at the godless monkeys. Eventually, the brutes had to carry him out, sealing his victory. Fr. O’Meathead was taken to Police Headquarters to receive his prize. The charges of substance abuse and possession of illegal substances should be dropped soon.
George Orwell and the Nature of Stupid
Goldstein must be a horribly dull person. His writing is dry, loveless, and remarkable only in its tediousness. Orwell single-handedly thwarts all the interest he has built for a little better than two-hundred pages in a mere six or so. I think that a better method would’ve been to intersperse sections of Goldstein’s Book, now doesn’t that sound biblical, into the novel. It would’ve divided the dryness of it and spread that around and it also wouldn’t be so much of a slog for that part. He so skillfully ramps up the reader’s interest and then slams it down with the business end of a double-decker bus. The worst part is that as I grind through this atrocious, moronic, insipid history book of a chapter, I am dimly aware that this mindless drivel is important and I worry that it might show up on my Political Systems exam. Yes, it is that painfully boring. To quote one of my favorite critics, Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw, “You’re supposed to weave exposition into the narrative not hand the audience a f****** glossary when they walk into the theater!” He might not be the most elegant speaker, but he gets the point across. I know that Orwell is a great writer, but this chapter with Goldstein’s biblically dull sermon just hurts so much.
This a snapshot taken from Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw's critic show, Zero Punctuation. The narration from this clip is "Allow me to hold your face under the putrescent waters of knowledge." That pretty accurately describes how it feels to tell Orwell how to fix his book's dumbest section.
This describes my reactions to tedium in any from. I especially hate tedious books and people, but tediousness is awful wherever it rears its head.
This is in some way descriptive of my opinions in some way I haven't efficiently and carelessly hammered out in the tirade above and the two pictures accompanying this one. The warm colors represent my interest in 984. The cool colors represent the literary bus that Orwell hits me with. The black and white simultaneously represent my desire to get good grades and my absolute lack of interest in "find-a-picture-that-accurately-represents-a-complex-chemical-reaction-going-on-in-your-head-that-you-don't-understand-and-is-distorted-by-other-factors-in-your-life" assignments. The face in the middle represents Orwell and my desire to smack him with a literary bus of my own.
The Evolution of Media Literacy
The learning involved in a media literacy class has multiple layers of varying complexity. The most obvious concept to media literacy sits in the name: to become literate with the myriad forms of media, but this lesson is of no mastery. As one probes deeper, we can recognize the greater lessons, the true masteries. Through this class, I have grappled with the ideas of a true nanny-state, the rise of exploitive news, the fall of sympathy, and the hungry climb of human ambition. In spite of the looming obstacles with which I have been presented, an acorn of ideas has been planted in the hopes that it might grow into something nigh on immortal.
A media literacy class is simply fundamentally different from other language arts classes. A language arts class, a literature class some may call it with enough pretention so as to hear the italics, calls tired student’s to Morpheus’s stilling embrace like a flame’s wolf-grin beckons the powder-wing moths in a silent midnight dance. A literature class (Please pardon the tone, it’s just so much fun to say literature like that.) requires a direct run of thinking to be taught effectively. If one bends an ear, one can hear some dusty old harpy shrilly clarion forth “CRICHTON MEANT FOR THE DINOSAURS TO SYMBOLIZE [current economic woes], NOT SIMPLY THAT MAN SHOULDN’T PLAY GOD!!” As the echoes of such a tempestuous allegation fade, the red-faced monster of an “educator” utterly quash the will to volunteer and squeeze the emotional noose of boredom and supreme despair another precious turn tighter. A media literacy class, if done well, addresses the realization and teaches the idea that there is absolutely no reason that the dinosaurs of Mr. Crichton’s Jurassic Park cannot symbolize both economic downturn and man’s misguided desire to play God. Moreover, with the bizarre concept of monosymbolism conquered a teacher (“here’s looking at you, sir” [Casablanca]) can nurture the willingness of his students to debate points, rather than regurgitate why the teacher’s right and further the misguided concept of monosymbolistic ideas. The abolishment of monosymbolism at an equivalent rate to the expansion of media literacy classes will also shield teachers (at least a little) from becoming dusty old hags who’s ambitions have long ago turned to the most bitter of ashes on their respective tongues.
Despite the noble goals of media literacy, it is still in its infancy. The acorn has grown, but the sapling cannot yet bare weight. In less pretentious terms, the desire to debate must be sheltered and must continue to be dissolved within the minds of the young. True literacy goes beyond mere comprehension, but rather is a drive to understand and recognize that there are other ideas, some contrary, to our own and that this great genesis of human reason is beyond even instinct’s ability to truly exalt. As such, to engender the idea of a loyalty to one’s beliefs but change when presented with a better, truer, more rational argument becomes the soul of the media literacy class and must be taught to younger students, so as the oak can grow in fruitful soil rather than having to break through nigh on endless stone first.