Tuesday, February 28, 2017

For Thursday: Never Let Me Go (film)

If you missed class on Tuesday, we watched the first 2/3 of Never Let Me Go, a science-fiction film that loosely relates to Feed. You are welcome to use Never Let Me Go as a source in your paper, as long as you bring it into your conversation in a specific way (we'll discuss how to do that on Thursday). We'll finish the film on Thursday and do an in-class writing that may help you start writing the paper--which is due on Friday by 5pm! Don't forget!

Here's a link to the trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXiRZhDEo8A

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

For Thursday: Finish Feed + Paper #2 assignment posted below

Finish Feed for Thursday if you haven't already; we'll do an in-class writing which may help you with your Paper #2 assignment (posted below), as well as discuss doing research for the paper.

Paper #2: The Future Is Now
Freshman Composition II

Choose ONE of the following conversations to discuss in your paper:

CONVERSATION #1: “Everything I think of when I think of really living, living to the full—all of my ideas are just the opening credits of sitcoms. See what I mean? My idea of life, it’s what happens when they’re rolling the credits...My god. What am I, without the feed? It’s all from the feed credits. My idea of real life” (217).

Discuss some aspect of our life that is ‘programmed’ by social media and/or commercial entertainment. How does it sell us our aesthetics or values? Why does this make it harder and harder for people to make decisions totally uninfluenced by commercial interests? Are any of our ideas “new” or “original,” or are they all variations on the same products and trends beamed across our own feeds? And if so, is this wrong? Does art always influence life in this manner? Or is this a modern invention?

CONVERSATION #2: “The feed is tied in to everything. Your body control, your emotions, your memory. Everything. Sometimes feed errors are fatal. I don’t know. I could lose...I don’t know” (170).

Discuss some technological advancement from the last 10-15 years that we can no longer live without; something that is vital to our psychological well-being and daily existence. Why do you think this became so essential to who we are (and how we are)? What did we do before this existed? What makes it so difficult to switch this off, and what would suffer if, like Violet’s Feed, it began to malfunction? Is there a danger in making technology indispensable to our well-being and happiness? Shouldn’t it be a tool that we can use and if necessary, discard? Or does all technology change who we are as well?

·         Conversation: at least 3-4 sources, which can consist of Feed, articles, Ted Talk videos, other stories, films, etc. (but not 4 films—you need a variety). You must use Feed prominently in your discussion and show your familiarity with it.
·         Naysayer: how you can introduce a voice that slightly or completely disagrees with your point of view, and how you can respond to this voice
·         Quotes/Citations: using quotes effectively in your paper to show different aspects of the conversation; be sure to introduce and cite them correctly
·         Length: at least 5-6 pages, double spaced
·         Due: Friday, March 3rd by 5pm (note: we do have class the Thursday before the paper is due, which is why I scheduled it a day later)

Friday, February 17, 2017

For Tuesday: Anderson, Feed, pp. 150-223

Below: Links to the Ted Talks we watched in class: Jason Sosa on "The Coming Era of Transhumanism" and Amber Case, "We Are All Cyborgs Now." The questions for Feed are below...

Answer TWO of the following:

Q1: What happens to Violet at the party that makes her exclaim, “Look at us! You don’t have the feed! You are feed! You’re feed! You’re being eaten!” (202). Though Titus blames this on her disease, what might Violet realize about the reality of their “dream” existence?

Q2: Does Titus’ relationship with Violet make him grow as a person? Is he becoming more and more independent of the Feed? Or is he too entangled with the Feed to ever truly change? Consider the conversation when he tells her, “It feels...it sometimes feels like you’re watching us, instead of being us” (168).

Q3: The Ted Talk we watched last Thursday (see the link above) suggested that technology grows exponentially smaller and faster, becoming more and more part of our lives. At a certain point, have we gone too far to turn back? How might these chapters of Feed suggest that going too far too fast makes it impossible to change direction?

Q4: Violet makes a big existential observation toward the end of our reading: “Everything I think of when I think of really living, living to the full—all my ideas are just the opening credits of sitcom. See what I mean? My idea of life, it’s what happens when they’re rolling the credits” (217). Do all of our ideas of living and identity come from shows and movies and books? Is it possible to ever have a truly original, unique identity? In the end, are we all products of the “Feed” whether we like it or not? 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

For Thursday: Anderson, Feed, pp. 73-149 (though feel free to read more if you wish!)

 Answer TWO of the following:

Q1: In one of the “in-between” sections of the book, a voice proclaims, “But we have entered a new age. We are a new people. It is now the age of oneiric culture, the culture of dreams...What we wish for, is ours” (149). What do you think the voice means by “the culture of dreams”? How does this relate to the Feed and the society it has produced? We tend to think of dreams as a positive, healthy thing...is that how this passage should be interpreted?

Q2: How has education changed in the future—and why is “School” trademarked? Why do you think these changes were instituted, and how does Titus feel about them? Why might this also explained why Violet was homeschooled?

Q3: Violet has a theory about the Feed: “It’s like a spiral: They keep making everything more basic so it will appeal to everyone. And gradually, everyone gets so used to everything being basic, so we get less and less varied as people, more simple. So the corps make everything even simpler. And it goes on and on” (97). This sounds a little like an older person’s argument: “everything was better in my day!” But is there any truth to Violet’s philosophy? Is that how entertainment and marketing actually works? To make money, do companies have to conspire to make us easier to sell to?

Q4: What kind of events are going on behind the scenes of the Titus-Violet love story? What are the realities of the Age of the Feed? What kind of government do they have? What’s happening to the natural world? And is any of this a direct consequence of the Feed?