For this assignment, I was tasked with watching two films and reflect on the ideas presented in the videos: An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube and Oh, What a Blow that Phantom Gave me. An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube was a presentation by Michael Wesch discussing how different our world is now because of all the media that is available to us. The internet is always advancing and connecting people in many places using countless gadgets. This video focused on YouTube, where people can go to voice their opinions because nobody knows who you are. Oh, What a Blow that Phantom Gave me was a film featuring Edmund Carpenter who explored the impact of media on preliterate people such as Eskimos and New Guinea tribesmen. Carpenter introduced them to the mirror, the printed word, and the Polaroid camera along with the tape recorder. Carpenter stated in the film that the effects of technology on the preliterate people were “staggering,” saying that, “I think media are so powerful that they swallow cultures.” While I agree that media is very powerful in today’s world, I don’t agree that it’s damaging in the way Carpenter is making it out to be.
While watching An Anthropological Introduction to YouTube and Oh, What a Blow that Phantom Gave me, I couldn’t help but think of two guys who had similar views as Wesch and Carpenter. Their names are Clive Thompson, author of “Smarter Than You Think,” and Nicholas Carr, author of “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” Carr and Carpenter are in the same boat where they feel like media/technology is constantly increasing its absorption into our lives and destroying/swallowing our brains/cultures. They both argued that media/technology set a new set of rules for our brain to follow. The advancement in media/technology is important, but often it’s not the most important part of the media/technology. They both say that it is the mental ethic that can have the most greatest effect on our brain.
Meanwhile, Thompson and Wesch are more alike. They believes that media/technology is positive. They see the computer as an extension and tool for our brain. A computer is able to calculate and repeat nearly an endless amount of information unlike our brain. Thompson says that we are developing a new way of thinking by utilizing and creating new technologies and I’m having a hard time believing Wesch would disagree with that.
In conclusion, while Wesch and Carpenter have similar arguments to Thompson and Carr, all four of them can agree on how the use of media/technology affect people. I agree with Wesch and Thompson that media/technology is a very good thing. However, there are clearly both pros and cons of media/technology use. The fact is, it is important for people to learn and understand media/technology. It’s become a part of daily life for all people to use a computer or a cell phone. Still, media use must not be excessive. Extreme media/technology use can cause all sorts of problems, socially and physically. It is important for us to understand that yes, media/technology is an amazing thing, but at the same time, it should not be used all of the time. We should not be overly dependent on it. People need to learn that sometimes media/technology is not the right answer for a situation.
Graff. 3rd Edition.”They Say / I Say: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing with Readings.” “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” “Smarter Than You Think.” 310-350