BitchBuzz: Technology and Temperance + Jane Quiet

My column today springs from my annoyance with paternalistic colleagues who keep giving people the impression that academics are stuffy know-it-alls who pontificate from their position of privilege. I realise I can also be a bit unreasonable about it: on President’s Day a colleague in the midst of his “technology: bad” talk (thank goodness there was also a “technology: good” talk by the fabulous Kim Middleton) made several references to The Matrix which made me want to break something.

The Matrix?! This is your idea of technology: a twelve year old film? Made when almost NONE of the tech things we’re talking about existed as more than an idea? Academics who would never have the chutzpah to offer public opinions on other disciplines have no trouble at all pontificating about things in popular culture that they have at most heard of–they’ve certainly never participated. It irritates me. But enough bile–I have things to do:

Does Tech Actually Distract from Real Life?

By K.A. Laity
We could all use a little time away from technology, right?

Colleagues of mine forwarded a link on Facebook today to a piece by William Major at the Chronicle of Higher Education entitled “Thoreau’s Cellphone Experiment.” In it Major tells of offering an extra credit project to his students: giving up their cell phones to him for five whole days, the better to reach a more “real” experience of life, unencumbered by the “distractions” of their palm-sized technology.

Setting aside the privileged and paternalistic tone of the piece for a moment and setting aside the dubiousness of Thoreau’s withdrawal to the “wilderness” of Walden Pond (which did not keep him from frequent, almost daily visits to the village of Concord, or from getting female family members to feed him and do his laundry), the whole aim of this article misunderstands the role of technology in our lives…

Read the rest at BBHQ:

In more pleasant news JANE QUIET! Have you been reading the prologue? Do you like Elena’s new style? What amazing color, eh? Tomorrow the big re-launch: Jane Quiet 2.0 — yes, there will be prizes!