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Media, Information and Technoculture 3214F/G Lecture Notes - University Of Western Ontario

Media, Information and Technoculture
Course Code
MIT 3214F/G
Sharon Sliwinski

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MIT 1200: Lecture 1 January 5, 2011
-Listened to John F. Kennedy’s Convocation Speech “The Educated Citizen”
-Universities should uphold truth
-We will become educated citizens at UWO if all goes well
-Why are media and truth on such bad terms with each other? What do our suspicions say
about the nature of media? Isn’t it the essence of media to be deceitful? Is truth powerless in the
face of media?
-The future of humanity may depend on media and society and how they relate to each
-Barthes (“Mythologies”) is thinking about how media is deceitful. Concerned with how all
media seems natural but isn’t
-Wrestling, advertising, etc. try to make the meanings they attach to their products seem
natural, not arbitrary. For example, it should feel natural to buy a pair of Nike’s because
they make you courageous - or, that’s what they want us to think
-It seems natural that anyone who wants a higher up job would wear a suit to the
interview. This seems natural to us but it’s arbitrary - the clothes don’t have a
purpose/function at all, so why do we even feel like we have to wear them?
-Mythologies involve: toys, cars, faces of celebrities, NIke, Zoo’s; everything involving media.
-The mythology of Zoo’s is that you will have an authentic experience of the animals
while you are there, even though you really don’t at all.
-Nike Mythology: You’ll be an amazing athlete if you wear our shoes. The song “All these
things that I have Done” by the Killers implies in the commercial that you don’t have to
be famous to have courage, this is an every man product. “I’ve got soul but I’m not a
-How do meanings get arbitrarily attached to their products?
-Plato’s definition of society from The Republic (380 B.C.E)
-3 Kinds of People: Governing Class which represents intelligence, Military class which
represents courage, and merchant class which represents appetite (desire to have stuff)
-Plato wants no artists, painters, filmmakers, whatever. He wants to ban them because
they ‘tempt us’. It would feed the part of our soul that relishes and contemplates the
woes of others. Referring to Homer’s “Iliad”.
-Poetry prevents us from seeking the truth/self knowledge. We may think we know what
courage is by reading about Achilles, but the only way to get courage is to go out and
fight yourself.
-“Allegory of the Cave” video of Plato’s Allegory
-The method in which you view reality distorts the truth.
-Any representation of the world through movies, books, computers, are a distortion of
the world. These things are bad according to Plato. We’ve lost our capacity to know the
truth. Our desires for what we ‘need’ is distorted.
-If the media is deceitful, we’re in trouble. Will running shoes really help you with
courage? No, obviously. But Nike is making people believe it.
- Is Facebook emptying friendship of all meaning or is it making us more socially connected?
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