April 12, 2005

Over the moon

About a chapter into Utopian Entrepreneur by Brenda Laurel, I was struck by a terrible, shortsighted, yet ironic, thought: How could someone who had failed in her own entrepreneurial pursuits (Purple Moon gaming industry) give any valid interpretations on how to conduct business in the emerging media culture?

I quickly dismissed this thought after reading her work. She learned from her entrepreneurial mistakes, and imparts this wisdom to us as readers, unabashedly citing her flaws:
"Later in the game, my sense of inferiority in business led me to ignore precious insights and to accede to bad business decisions."

One section on a transmedia culture is of particular interest to me right now. In class today, I will be discussing remediation, or what Laurel relates to current society as "transmedia" (84).

She cites the fact that "people have an enduring interest in content and a continuing propensity to be fans of content properties. But they will access the content they want witht the device that is appropriate for them at the moment" (84).

I plan on associating this principle to the Star Wars conglomerate. I have books, movies, and a CD-ROM (both old and new) that demonstrate the media that befits a certain generation in the most expedient form.

In any case, back to Laurel. This is my favorite book I have read in Media Aesthetics. Everything about it screams, READ ME; for example, the small size, the page development with computerized text and varying fonts, even the smooth pages (which are all assessed in the final pages of the book), contribute to this slick design concept. The company, Mediawork, sell me on this book and on their knowledge of what an audience wants by their medium. In fact, they address this very idea in that they want their book (they call it a pamphlet--sneaky way to make it seem even smaller) to go in "sling packs, messenger bags, and attaches that both men and women now shoulder to hold thier pens, pads, pagers, phones, PDAs, and, of course, laptop computers" (112). They know their audience. Smooth.

While reading, I could not shake the depression associated with Purple Moon falling apart. While she doesn't dwell on the failure for very long throughout the chapters, when it is mentioned her upbeat attitude make the reader even more sympathetic to her successful, went caput, supposedly anti-feminism company. In addition to citing good business practices for an entrepreneur, Laurel also argues that her games were not anti-feminism, but rather what little girls want based on how they play. She also mentions that she did this with tons of research on her side.

After looking at this Stanford site, however, I am not sure how I feel about Purple Moon. I mean, there is definitive racial stereotyping demonstrated here. Not seeing the Purple Moon software or the original website, however (because it has been shut down), I cannot make an accurate judgment. Instead, Mattel's Barbie site loads first in association with Purple Moon on Google. Ironic again, when Laurel considers Barbie her nemesis, "[attempting to lower] her bust line by holding a match under the indicated area...produc[ing] only melting, not sagging." I mean, "i hate barbie" is the title of one of her chapters. We definitely have something in common. :-) I find it is easier to believe her, speaking as an entrepreneurial businesswoman (who is out of business) than some panties-in-a-twist Stanford feminist--even worse than I. :-D

The most powerful chapter was the last one. She got a computer while being an ear of corn. It is so human a narrative in contrast to the primitive computer in the Ace Hardware store with cards. Her writing skills come through soon after when she states, "Although it [a computer] can speak with a human voice or display a human face, we know it is not human. it is a brain in a box, without body, a soul, intuition, passion, or morality."

Posted by Amanda Cochran at April 12, 2005 1:18 PM | TrackBack
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