You need to get out more

Author: cath

Friday, 17 February, 2006 - 20:13

So we were talking about how you were in the hotel and the hostess asked what you did for a living...
"I work at the university"
"yes I'm a teacher there"
"what do you teach?
"Oh, interactive media."
"What's that?"
"Um, the internet and computers and stuff".
"Oh right, well, I'm about to buy a new PC and..."

So the question is, how are you as a middle class white male university lecturer really in touch with the real world - and I don't mean via your PC?

Categories: out of touch, white middle class male, real world,
Comments: 20


I watched Celebrity Big Brother

Author: Joe Sent: 2006-02-17 20:50:40


Author: Joe Sent: 2006-02-17 20:52:36

And anyway, what the hell is the real world?

Author: Joe Sent: 2006-02-17 20:53:24

And I'm sure I'm not as bad as this man

There's a fantastic line on the page of the diary reproduced here: "9.05 - 9.45 I sat on the fixture voiding urine and reading Swedenborg on End, England and other subjects. I wish I knew something. Anything would do."

Author: Joe Sent: 2006-02-17 22:02:24

Speaking of the real world: a couple of weeks ago I went into Second Life for the first time. Got an avatar, wandered around a bit, asked someone in the 'training area' if they were a machine (got the response "no, I'm a person"), eventually found myself in a virtual clothes shop, at which point I got bored and left.

A couple of nights later, I dreamt that I got up in the morning, read my newsfeeds, and saw a piece on BoingBoing saying that an abandoned avatar had been found in the Second Life clothes shop. I switched to the BBC, and they were saying '..police are unable to say at the moment who is responsible for the avatar, but consternation has arisen amongst the other residents that an avatar should be left so casually in the shop...'

So basically I'm having virtual anxiety dreams about an avatar I've inhabited for about an hour. Don't talk to me about the real world :)

Author: Joe Sent: 2006-02-17 22:29:55

Ok, so the phrase "real world" is a bit dubious to say the least! So instead I should say, what's your range of exposure to the world so that you have a balanced view to counteract/enhance/add extra meaning to the middle class white male university lecturer perspective?

Potential examples, how many elderly people have you spoken to in the last week/month? How many children do you interact with? Unemployed people in Easton, teenagers who work in modern age sweat shops? People who go to backgammon clubs? People who support the community by running clubs with pretend money? These are examples picked from the air, but I guess what I mean is - any indepth contact beyond the web or university?

To live a balanced life means that you thereby gain a wider view, which would then inform on the work you focus on i.e. voices and communication.

Wouldn't it be essential for you (as a W.M.C.M.U.L) more than anyone to go out and grab that balanced life in any way possible... and not see it as "I haven't got time to because I'm working", but more of a - "I will make a choice to build that balance because it informs on my work life as well as my personal one".

I set down the challenge! :-)

Author: cathbond Sent: 2006-02-19 11:15:28

what am I supposed to be a social worker now as well? I have enough trouble getting a balanced diet, let alone life. :)

Author: Joe Sent: 2006-02-19 13:41:01

I think the comments I'm making reflect very much on what I'm thinking about in terms of the imbalance in my life at the moment. Something I'm aiming to remedy by doing voluntary work. I just think we live in very small bubbles, you know, hanging out with people in their mid-30s, all with similar approaches to life. I certainly feel the pinch of having a lack of diversity in terms of voices and opinions, and I was thinking that you may do too, especially in terms of what you are attraced to in your studies.

It seems though that my ramblings aren't really as relevant to you as I thought. Perhaps I was just trying to test out a philosophy on you that I've been considering for a short while. :-)

Author: cathbond Sent: 2006-02-19 14:20:25

well, I see what you're getting at, but it sounds a bit like middle-class guilt - which I get too :) - but isn't the idea of deliberately widening your field of interaction to include people you categorise as 'unemployed' or 'people who play backgammon' a bit patronising and, um, anthropological?

Author: Joe Sent: 2006-02-19 18:50:32

I mean - I don't suppose there are many flat-capped yorkshiremen sitting around playing backgammon saying, "do you know, I need to live a bit, maybe spend some time with an academic and find out what it's like spending your Sunday marking first-year essays..."

Author: Joe Sent: 2006-02-19 18:53:12


Author: Joe Sent: 2006-02-19 20:33:19

That's really funny, and you're completely right - (as always I hear you say!). I didn't mean to be patronising but I can see how it comes across that way. Perhaps I should have been more careful with my examples.

And perhaps a more apt title for this post could have been Middle Class Guilt!

Author: cathbond Sent: 2006-02-19 21:50:31

no, you're right we all live in bubbles. my objection was just that bursting the bubble deliberately by seeking out 'types' is self-defeating (like Withnail, I, and the poacher). but I take your point :) I hang out with people more or less like me.

my life has gotten considerably less multi-cultural since leaving London :( west of england is nice but genrally white

Author: Joe Sent: 2006-02-20 01:39:14

So how can a person who is self consciously middle class suffering from middle class guilt become un-self conscious?! Once you're aware of the bubble then you're stuck in a corner thinking - I can see the bubble, I'm going to pretend it's not there and then nonchalantly bump into it without realising.

The West of England can suffer from being very white but Bristol doesn't. But then Bristol is a city of very separat bubbles I think.

Author: cathbond Sent: 2006-02-20 17:40:06

no, I think you say 'fuck the bubble' and get on with your life - or you'll end up writing diaries about voiding urine :)

Author: Joe Sent: 2006-02-20 21:29:05

Great name for a band don't you think!

Author: cathbond Sent: 2006-02-22 20:26:41

what, 'voiding urine'? :)

Author: Joe Sent: 2006-02-22 21:39:33

Hi Joe,

I usually find myself in the same situation when I introduce what course I am reading. The question is usually “what is that?”
I usually respond with some flowery explanation that leaves me often confused. Please from an insider’s point-of-view, what is Interactive Media?

Author: Gideon Sent: 2006-02-23 02:04:43

Hey Gideon

Let me answer that question in a really obtuse way. What is English Literature (the BA I did)?

Study of books in English? (except I read as many works translated from Russian, French, German, Anglo-Saxon, Norse, etc, as I did works written in English.

Study of books in the literary canon? (except I spent as much time reading the books written by critics about the 'canon' as I did time reading the books themselves).

What is in the 'canon' (works of literary merit? works of social importance? works that aren't poplar culture? who decides what is literature and what isn't?)

Is it really a social history of culture, then? Or learning to appreciate great art? Or what?

So, I'll throw it back - what do you think 'Interactive Media' is?


Author: Joe Sent: 2006-02-24 12:16:05

please tell me too.what i'm gonna tell my family in Thailand what I have been studying?
I find it hard to make it easy and clear.

Author: witoon Sent: 2006-03-18 12:38:24

Add a comment

Your name:

Your email:

Your comment:

Note: because of high volumes of spam, html tags and texile markup have been disabled, and the menticulture machine will think your comment is spam if you use any html tags (eg: <h1> or <a>), or textile syntax (e.g. [url]). Please use just plain text, and if you want to post a link, just type the url, and it will automagically become a link :-) Thanks!