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Webs We’ve Weaved

While reading through Evgeny Morozov’s critical take on the role of the internet, I came across this ope-ed by Trevor Butterworth for The Daily.

Butterworth’s argument is similar to Morozov’s in this way: the internet is more of a dangerous tool for unruly rulers than a helpful one for democracy-spreaders. He imagines the internet in the hands of the National Socialist Party under Hitler, with an interesting precedent:

…the Nazis didn’t just love technology, they regarded Technik as central to promulgating National Socialism. By 1939, over 70 percent of German households – the highest percentage in the world — had radios…

Churchill vs. Hitler: Scissors beats paper.

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Updated: About

I’m a grad student at UT-Dallas, which is less glamorous than it sounds. This blog is obligatory, which means the posts are assignments, which means I am generally going to procrastinate about content. If satire or sarcasm seep into my writing, it’s because I can’t help myself.

Storytelling interests me. Children do it when playing alone or with others (“Oh no! We need to go over here and save Mr. Jingles! Follow me!”) and never grow out of it. The stories may become more nuanced or complex, but they never stop coming.

When we get older, we tend to filter stories. Clearly, it isn’t possible to know of — let alone hear — every story that exists. We individually tend to trust certain sources and ignore others.

Traditional (“mainstream”) media outlets have spent decades, if not centuries, earning peoples’ trust as a source of story. Through this trust, they have come to control the overarching narrative of our lives. While we may individually have our own stories, we have all shared the world as presented by others via our televisions, newspapers, magazines, etc.

With shiny new media, this trend may (or arguably not) be changing. The number of available story sources has increased exponentially, bringing up the number of stories knowingly available. They (or we?) who control these narratives control the world. Or do they?