Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

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!

Media Hazards

November 14, 2006

I attended a parents’ seminar last night on protecting children and teens from harmful media. It was the standard fare: your children are being targeted, and technology has enabled a torrent of bad messages that studies have shown to be highly correlated with all kinds of undesireable behavior.

Also, as expected, we heard a warning about Internet social networking sites: they are the new forest where predators lurk.

There was one idea discussed that had not occurred to me before: social networking technology has enabled a new torrent of bad messages from your children’s most powerful influence: their peers. And here I was, worrying about strangers, evil corporations, rappers, and video game developers!

So today I am checking real estate listings in Pennsylvania Dutch country and looking at horse and buggy catalogues.

P.S. Here are some web resources I got from the seminar: