Archive for January, 2008

Egyptian Interlude

January 25, 2008

A cousin of mine in Jordan sent me this video via Facebook. At first, I found it very charming—this toothless old Egyptian man entertaining his friends with a song. It reminded me of the summer I spent living in my uncle’s house in Amman. (Every night after dinner, the whole family would sit in a circle in a big room, telling stories, etc.)

In the video, the old man starts to sing, and you hear commentary from the group. There are lots of fingers snapping in time to the beat and vocal encouragement (“Aywah!”). After a minute, the photographer pans around to show the room. A man in the foreground is playing cards. A few listeners are clapping to the beat. Isn’t this nice? These people don’t need television or video games or YouTube for entertainment! They interact directly with each other for fun! Then the camera pans more… What’s this? Half of the old man’s audience is engrossed in texting on their cellphones! Aaaugh!

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Growing up Online

January 23, 2008

insidep1.jpgPBS aired an interesting Frontline documentary last night about teenagers using the Internet. It will be repeated in Boston (and probably other markets) several times during the week. It is also viewable online.

The bottom line: the inmates are running the asylum. This is also a problem in typical American schools. However, at least in school there are some adults wandering around trying to shape behavior. Online, it’s like Lord of the Flies.