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Doctorow (1-81) Agenda Item & Informal Reflection...

Agenda Item: "...Whuffie recaptured the true essence of money: in the old days, if you were broke but respected, you would never starve; contrawise if you were rich and hated, no sum of money could buy you security and peace," (Doctorow 14).

The quote above kind of made me think about the value we place on money in society today. I am reminded of the motion picture “Richie Rich” and how no matter what amount of money he had there was no way to buy happiness. He even tried to buy friends and that didn’t work out so well. In the world that Dan, Jules and Lil live in people’s value is measured by how much Whuffie they have aquired. Whuffie measures how much esteem and respect other people have for you. One thing that I really like about science fiction books is the way that they can address any contemporary social issue in a future setting and still make valid points about it.

There was a nice pun (or at least I read it as a pun) on page 9. "Damn, you know it's easy to get used to a life without hyperlinks." The following line reads: "And then it clicked for me." Get it? Hyperlinks..clicked? Ok maybe I am just amused by that one. I thought a good point was raised on page 12 when they discuss the world getting a little too crowded. It made me think about the possible alternatives to dealing with overpopulation and the first thing that came to mind was genocide.

I felt like the storage of humans in computers kind of related nicely to what we talked about while reading Mechanisms and how storage is the way of new media and the future. I wondered how the person stored in a computer would even be considered alive. I mean can they respond or think? What happens if the hard drive dies? Does the individual essentially die? But then again in a world like this the only way to die would be for the computer to erase you. The cell phone implant in the brain was my favorite part of the book so far because I would love to have one of those things. Extreme Bluetooth?

And last but not least I cannot go without addressing the casual smoking of crack and the glorification of suicide while at your prime and peak of your given profession.

Comments:

I commented on Kayla Sawyer's blog entry for this reading. I wrote: Well Kayla the crack reference is definitely pertinent to the text. Facebook/Myspace with no friends would no doubt be like having no Whuffie. People don't value you enough to throw around the term of friend/lover/companion so they don't friend request you. I agree that money does play a large roll in the way we as a society judge and treat one another. That is why I love science fiction; it brings up the truth, but puts it in an extreme context to help us realize it about ourselves.

I commented on Chris Ulicne's blog entry for this reading as well. I wrote: Good point Chris. When we find out how things work it sometimes takes away some of the mystery and illusion behind them. Magic tricks are like this in a way. Sometimes I wonder how this applies to us living in such a technologically advanced society. What are things going to be like when there are no mysteries anymore?

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