Class 04: “Cassetternet”

As ever, the flow of our class is on “Chalkboard.” This is our last day discussing the many issues that emerge from Mixtape, so let’s get to it:

Review: We’ve listened to three episodes that develop Simon Adler’s argument. “Dakou” is about control and customizability as cassette tapes and the music on them find their way into the underground of 1980s China. “Jack and Bing” is about a “deceptively huge shift” in the production of radio that points to the conflicting urges to capture and document versus to perfect and improve. Each of these episodes has a little guy vs. The Man vibe to it. The last episode features a few underdogs, too.

Discussion: Today we’ll talk about “Cassetternet.” Many of you were struck by the notion of “sharing” versus “owning” ideas. What’s interesting in the Fuxoft part of the episode is how it’s a conversation. More globally, how does technology change depending on the purpose to which it’s put? Can it be a means to speak truth to power, to deliver a message or achieve a goal that might otherwise be impossible? What examples come to mind? What other forces does Simon Adler describe in this episode that began with cassette technology, but (maybe) remain today?

Activity: In groups of three or four, respond to annotations from other students. Which sections are they highlighting that you might quote in your paper. As a quick lesson, we’ll talk about how to use audio in your essays (if we have time). With the balance of class left after our sentence workshop and discussion, we’ll turn to outlining in preparation for Thursday’s in-class drafting.