Culture: October 2005 Archives

Egocasting

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Godspy has an excerpt of an article by and an interview with Christine Rosen of The New Atlantis and The Ethics and Public Policy Center.

The article - titled "The Age of Egocasting" - contemplates the effect that personalized entertainment technology like iPods and TiVos have and will continue to have on culture and society.

Here is an excerpt of the excerpt, but the whole, er, excerpt, is worth a read.

The creation and near-universal adoption of the remote control arguably marks the beginning of the era of the personalization of technology. The remote control shifted power to the individual, and the technologies that have embraced this principle in its wake—the Walkman, the Video Cassette Recorder, Digital Video Recorders such as TiVo, and portable music devices like the iPod—have created a world where the individual's control over the content, style, and timing of what he consumes is nearly absolute.

Retailers and purveyors of entertainment increasingly know our buying history and the vagaries of our unique tastes. As consumers, we expect our television, our music, our movies, and our books "on demand." We have created and embraced technologies that enable us to make a fetish of our preferences.

The long-term effect of this thoroughly individualized, highly technologized culture on literacy, engaged political debate, the appreciation of art, thoughtful criticism, and taste-formation is difficult to discern. But it is worth exploring how the most powerful of these technologies have already succeeded in changing our habits and our pursuits. By giving us the illusion of perfect control, these technologies risk making us incapable of ever being surprised. They encourage not the cultivation of taste, but the numbing repetition of fetish. And they contribute to what might be called "egocasting," the thoroughly personalized and extremely narrow pursuit of one's personal taste. In thrall to our own little technologically constructed worlds, we are, ironically, finding it increasingly difficult to appreciate genuine individuality.

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Whoa! That's subversive!

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Critics, though, said sponsoring a contest around a book as overtly Christian as The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was over the line.

"This whole contest is just totally inappropriate because of the themes of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," said Barry Lynn, director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. "It is simply a retelling of the story of Christ."

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This page is a archive of entries in the Culture category from October 2005.

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