Thursday, June 26, 2008

Medium and its affect on the material

I think McLuhan focused on the importance of the message and how strongly it affects the information itself. I think that sometimes the medium is so important that it can be a message itself. If you think about commercials or advertisements as a medium and what there are trying to sell as the material as an example. In that example sometimes the medium or the way they are trying to sell whatever the product is sometimes the way they do this is more effective than the actual value of the product itself. This shows how the medium can often be very affective. Like with some products if they have a celebrity presenting the product, then the medium, which would be the celebrity, can actually be more important than the product they are selling.

I think sometimes in our society we place too much emphasis on the medium and not enough on the information itself. I think we tend to be easily influenced by people that are considered celebrities and we do not always check to see if the material they are presenting is credible. I think sometimes as a society we take the value of the material itself for granted because we can not get past the medium itself.

Or, on the other hand, we may not pay attention to very valuable material because it comes from a source or medium they we may not find interesting enough or that does not grab our attention as much as another medium. I think this is a flaw in our society because we sometimes pay attention to people that are not credible simply because of their popularity. I think we pay too much attention to people that are celebrities in our society and less attention to people that are actually knowledgeable in a field.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Week 2 : More on the Public Sphere

I really liked the Was There Ever a Public Sphere article and what is said about how people talk about a golden age when things used to be different. I also really liked what the article said about how TV fails to inform people and it also tricks them into believing that they were informed. I think this statement is very fitting of the time that we live in now. So much of the new that we see on TV is from a very partial source and is sometimes very tainted with personal opinions of the station. This leads people to believe certain things that are not facts, but instead opinions. I think this is something that contributes to the problem of participation in the American system. If people are given opinionated and conflicting information it makes participation in the public sphere.
I really like Habermas’ definition of the public sphere given in the Geoff Eley article. It was very comprehensive and touched on all of the bases of what I personally believe the public sphere to be. The only thing I did not agree with in this definition was where it talked about how access is guaranteed to all citizens. While I do think that in an ideal world access to the public sphere would be available to all citizens, we do not live in an ideal world. In our country people do not have equal access to the public sphere just like they do not have equal access to other resources.
I also really liked what the Geoff Eley article said about the discussion of gender in relation to the public sphere. I really liked what it said about the domestic sphere that women were and are sometimes tied to because of their gender. I really liked how the article talked about how men are given the power and in turn access to the public sphere while women are expected to be silent on these matters and participate in the domestic sphere and the things associated with that. I think that while some of the argument is antiquated, some aspects of it can still be seen in our world today. There are still places and people who believe that are certain things that women should not be involved in and that these things should be left to the men to decide. I think that in this day and time everyone should be equal, but I also realize that this is not the case. Not only are women not equal to men, but certain races are looked at as superior to other races.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Week 1 Soul of a Citizen Reading

As an Education Major, I will be influenced by the public sphere and have to structure my classroom to a certain degree around the ever changing public sphere. A big part of my job as a teacher will be relating to other people and trying to understand their perspective. I think that the Soul of Citizen reading really fit into this aspect of my future career, and gave many examples of how people can connect with and better understand other people.

I think that lately we are seeing more and more personal accounts in the public sphere. I think that people are realizing that you can get a message out better if you use a personal account. Like the article said, it is easier for people to relate to one person and their story than to a bunch of statistics. If you are able to put a face or a person with an issue it is easier to feel for that issue because you can feel for the other person. I think the key to this is that these personal accounts make it easier for people to understand an issue and walk in the shoes of that issue, so to speak.

I really liked the examples from the section called “The Story of the Earth”. The examples really showed how giving a face to a problem can make that problem seem more concrete. It talked about how, if we as humans understand how interconnected the Earth and its systems are, and how interconnected we are as a part of that system then we can more easily relate to some of the things that we are doing to the Earth. In other words, if we see ourselves as a part of the Earth, then the things like deforestation that are being done to the Earth will become more personal to us as a part of the Earth. This section really hit home the idea that if you can connect yourself with something whether it is a person or the Earth or whatever else then you are going to be able to empathize with their issue or problem.

Also, I think that as we become increasingly more connected through things like the internet and TV, it easier for people to learn about issues that they otherwise may not have known about. We have more outlets today than we have had in the past, and so we are able to learn more about issues that might not have reached us before. I know that for me personally, in this busy world it is sometimes hard to have time to care and learn about things that do not seem to directly affect me. However, through the use of personal examples, and the public sphere it is easier to see how different issues have an impact on your life.

I think that this article demonstrated the important of our need as humans to feel connected to others and demonstrated how to do this in the most effective way. I really liked this reading and thought it was very understandable and relatable material.