Blog post on The Circle

“And those who wanted or needed to track the movements of consumers online had found their Valhalla: the actual buying habits of actual people were now eminently mappable and measurable, and the marketing to those actual people could be done with surgical precision. Most TruYou users, most internet users who simply wanted simplicity, efficiency, a clean and streamlined experience, were thrilled with the result. No longer did they have to memorize twelve identities and passwords; no longer did they have to tolerate the madness and rage of the anonymous hordes; no longer did they have to put up with buckshot marketing that guessed, at best, within a mile of their desires. Now the messages they did get were focused and accurate and, most of time, even welcome” (22-23)

In The Circle and even in our real lives, people do look for the most simplistic form of a solution because I believe it’s in our human nature to find the easiest route to fixing a problem; however, I also believe that with too much simplicity, similar to everything else in life, it creates more problems and issues than the solutions they were originally trying to fix. While suggested products are convenient to both parties in terms of simplicity and efficiency, they lack diversity; diversity has repercussions but their could also be high rewards in my opinion. You may find the solution to your problem, and find five more solutions taking a diverse route rather than the simple route. For example, if somebody is sleep deprived they could either go to the store and buy zzzQuil and feel slightly better because they can finally sleep, or they could look for ways to train themselves to sleep at a specific time, manage a sleep schedule, sleep with no sound or lights and practice that so they’ll feel better when they wake up. Taking the second option will also allow them to feel healthier, have healthier skin and hair etc. just because they’ve maintained a moderate amount of sleep at a certain time and stuck to it. It’s not the route most chosen, but the route most chosen won’t always fix the problem for everyone.

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My Body Paper 2

Shelly Jackson’s My Body: A Wunderkammer creates a unique experience with her electronic literature that tells stories within a story. Each of these stories often have a deeper meaning that can be interpreted in different ways. There is also usually a thorough description of what that body part means to Jackson. When choosing a path from the beginning of My Body, the body part chosen has hyperlinks that transitions to similar body parts with similar stories, and it can be assumed that when Jackson was writing My Body she focused on a specific body part, then transitioned to a similar body part with the other one in mind. Jackson tells similar stories with similar body parts starting with her knee, transitioning to the legs, and finally transitioning to her toes and creates many opportunities to form a deeper meaning for each section she’s created.

The section of the knee begins with Jacksons’ description of what she remembers her knees to look like in the past. She remembers her knees to always be “marked by scabs” so often to the point where if there were no scabs “they look naked without them” (Title<Body<Knee).  She then goes on to tell a story of how she obtained a scab as a five-year-old child in Virginia.  Jackson usually tends to write of odd/out of the ordinary experiences with some of her body parts, and the knee happens to be one; it’s out of the ordinary to enjoy the “sweet, rich smell of the open cut” of the scab on a knee, or remember “how the scab would soften in the bath” and that it looked like “old newspaper in the rain” (Title<Body<Knee). Jackson’s stories, while sometimes odd, always seem to be genuine and believable and that’s one aspect to the Wunderkammer; like it, the body has weird aspects to it that are part of the overall build of the body. For Jackson, in her experiences with her body she tends to embrace all aspects whether they be of the ordinary or normal. For this specific body part there is one section where, for one moment, she transitions to an in-depth thought about time. “I toiled, suddenly small, up the long, long driveway. I realized something about time: that the moment was lost forever when I could have righted myself and skidded down in triumph” (Title<Body<Knee). Realizing this is in past tense, Jackson is experiencing this deep philosophical moment as a five-year-old child about the idea of time and what it is versus what it feels like; it just goes to show how a simple body part like the knee can create a plethora of in-depth real discussions and moments.

Transitioning to the base of the lower-body, the legs, this section at first-glance seems to have the most connections to other body parts with a multitude of hyperlinks. It directly connects to the hands, elbows, underarms, teeth, toes, and a section describing other people’s bodies. For Jackson, when she thinks of her legs she thinks of drawing which is an important aspect to the entirety of My Body. While not every passage has a piece of drawing, the majority of them do, and the title and the entire body pages are all drawings. The only story Jackson seems to tell is how legs relate to drawing; this section seems to be more of an analysis by Jackson of growing up and what it feels like to her. Jackson writes, “We resemble inanimate things more and more, until one day we become one. But at the time, casting judgement with my jacks, I wondered why they had let themselves come to such a pass” (Title<Body<Legs). Jackson’s legs lead her to start looking at her body, and when she begins to look at her body she begins to have deep thoughts such as in this quote. The body has a direct relationship with death, once someone reaches death, the body essentially becomes useless. All its functions and its purpose are unnecessary after life, and it’s as good as nothing. But relating back to the Wunderkammer, all of the abnormalities and odd aspects to the body create stories; Jackson writes that “will could train and clarify both thought and flesh” meaning the stories she’s created from her body will be forever. Nothing can wipe away the stories she’s had with her body; whether they be negative or positive, they both fill in this void of nothingness which allows Jackson’s “will” to clarify her thought which then clarifies or essentially allows her flesh to not become corrupted like “grown-ups.” They lack creativity and enjoyment in their everyday-lives that Jackson receives from her drawing and her writing that not only increases her life-span in her opinion, but also allows her impact she created with My Body to last forever.

While the toes section may not have a direct deeper meaning like the legs section did, it’s similar to the knees section in which Jackson tells a story of her childhood and a deeper meaning can be derived from her story. Jackson tells another odd story; her brother owned a miniature grand piano and she decided she wanted to learn how to play it with her toes instead of her fingers. It took her a while “but with assiduous practice I learned to move it on its own, and in a matter of months I had mastered Frere Jacques”. She also mentioned practice earlier in this section with balancing her toes like a ballerina writing “I was prepared to practice until I mastered it” (Title<Body<Knee<leg hair<toes). While it seems like at first the deeper meaning is obviously practice makes perfect, it seems as though Jackson is trying to portray with these two stories is to never give up on a dream or a passion. The reason for this being what she writes in the last line of this section. “Sadly, my parents were too poor to provide me with a suitably scaled piano of better quality, and my talent stifled in its infancy” (Title<Body<Knee<leg hair<toes). While the piano hadn’t become her passion in the long-run, if she had really wanted her dream to be a pianist that played with her toes, she wouldn’t have let this one obstacle of her parents being poor get in the way of her goal. Obviously her dream became to write and to draw, and even though she writes of out of the ordinary events and writes in an oddly fashioned way, she doesn’t let that become an obstacle and get in her way of being a writer/drawer. With My Body she is doing “things nobody else had even imagined” she was capable of doing (Title<Body<Knee<leg hair<toes). She’s created a new piece of art that was unimaginable in the past. Relating back to the Wunderkammer she’s realized that she’s created this “cabinet of wonders” which is My Body and all of the individual stories for each of the body parts (Title<Body<Knee<leg hair<toes).

Each of the three body parts, the knee, the legs, and the toes, have similar descriptions and are similar parts of the body; however, the deeper meanings created from Jackson’s writing are all three unique just like her experiences with the three body parts. Shelly Jackson’s My Body: A Wunderkammer discusses philosophical ideas with time, real-life discussions like the lack of creativity as people grow older, and even a motivational interpretation on not giving up on a dream.

 

Blog entry 5

To describe what it was like to try and read these constantly changing poems in one word would be frustrating. Even the poems that only changed when you would move the cursor along the text was frustrating to read after the first block of text because as you moved the cursor, the text would change as well as change to different shades of gray/white and the text of one shade of grey would and wouldn’t match the text of another shade of grey. However, sometimes two different greys would form lines that made sense reading making it seem like it was an entirely new poem, or at least the new text gave a new meaning to the original poem (Jim). I believe after a few seconds of reading the poems you gain that sense of knowledge that you expect something to occur after an action or a set time, and you know that the change is intended and there’s a reason for the pre-scripted change. However, when you actually begin to experience these changes, there is still the unknown that’s going to happen; it might be possible to estimate when a change will occur or what type of change will occur but there’s never a certainty behind that expected change, which in my opinion grants knowledge of these changes as an irrelevant understanding. I happened to notice in, I believe, every stir fry poem that regardless of what the readers action was with the mouse on the poem, their contained words that did not change at all until a different poem was selected (Jim). In a sense, I guess these are pieces of textual content that holds their poems together, and I also believe each author had an intent to leave certain blocks of text throughout all the available reader actions.

Blog entry #4

I feel as a student from my generation, being exposed to an electronic literature such as the “Bottomless Pit” project, we have an expectation coming into a piece of literature that this project follows in almost no way at all. First off, it doesn’t seem like a piece of literature when you first get to the page, but instead, as a game, and I believe that is what Katherine Hayles is trying to explain in her quote that the “contemporary culture” takes control of what electronic literature is meant to be, one being in the form of a computer game. So while at first we (my generation) view something like the “Bottomless Pit” as a game, we push that start button and try to understand what is going on with the the consistently rapid stream of words and make sense of it as it goes faster and faster trying to analyze it until one interacts with it and the stream of words abruptly end and not much is making sense after you’ve been exposed to the plethora of pictures and words from the project. But that attempt to analyze portion of the project, in my opinion, is what separates this from a standard random computer game. There’s the aspect of trying to understand what you just went through run in this project that I believe classifies it as a piece of electronic literature. I also believe that there was intent from the creator to get people to analyze the situation in their own way with multiple types of interpretations available. Reader interaction also plays an important role in the amount of interpretations created by this project as the lack of interaction, from my experience creates a faster stream of words and pictures and an increase of interaction allows some words to become more focused in the stream, meaning the stream is slowed down during the upcoming arrival of specific words. There’s so much interpretation available to the reader regardless of interaction that it would be unwise not to classify this as a piece of electronic literature.

Blog entry week 3

Excerpt 1: My knees were so often marked by scabs that they still look naked without them, and when I see someone with a skinned knee, I feel a warm fellow-feeling, hearty and a little envious. I like the sheer page-white of the first instant. Then the measles of blood that decorate the white, then the slow, rich flow of blood down my leg, a warm thick worm. It’s comforting, almost like lotion. After the blood stops, I like the thick slippery translucent skin of pink stuff, sticky as fresh Jell-o, coming up in stuck-to-finger-tip peaks when you touch it. This goes stiff, like a bit of cardboard stuck to the skin, then even stiffer. It is as if I weirdly grew a shard of crockery! I like the feeling of the scab stretching when I bend my knees, and bunching when I straighten them. Repeated, this action wears creases in the scab, which eventually cracks. Then blood and pain again.

Watching films of volcanoes in school, I recognized myself: the black crust cracked, the hot-orange lava welled up, darkening, and hardened into new crust. I was planetary!

I haven’t mentioned the sweet, rich smell of the open cut. (I’d sit hugging my legs, and bow my head to smell my knees with a private smile.) Or how the scab would soften in the bath, like an old newspaper in the rain. Or discussed prying at the sides of the scab, which were raised like a dinner plate’s, only to find it was still stuck on by a dot of raw meat in the middle.

Hairs grow up through the scab, like blades of grass through the old doormat we left to rot in our hideout. The hairs sew the scab to the skin underneath. The scab breaks up but hangs on. You scratch it off in bits. Underneath the new skin is hard and white.

When I was five I ran whooping down the steep slope from the yard to the road in Falls Church, Virginia, accompanied by skipping, rolling, half-airborne pebbles and crumbs of dirt, and the moving surface got whisked out from under my by some trick and I found myself sliding on both knees down the slope, until I tumbled over the curb into the road. There was no one to see what a terrible thing had just happened to me, so I didn’t cry, just got up, shocked and lonesome under the happy Crayola sky. I toiled, suddenly small, up the long, long driveway. I realized something about time: that the moment was lost forever when I could have righted myself and skidded down in triumph. The present stretched out gravelly and mundane as a driveway and for the whole length of it I was bleeding and a blunderer. At some point I would reach the house and my mother would comfort me for my bleeding knees, but I already no longer needed comfort. That would also come too late.

Excerpt 2: On old people the pad of thickened flesh, divvied up into hexagons by criss-crossed creases, hangs in the softer folds of the back of the arm. It is powdered white with dry skin. At one point I was terrified of allowing that to happen to me. Now I don’t think about my elbows at all: what happened to my parents is happening to me, my attention has lapsed, the upholsterers are sneaking up on me.

Excerpt 1 from Shelley Jackson’s My Body conveys a prime example of the narrator’s opinion on what “makes up” the body. With many body parts there is almost always a memory of something related to set body part. In relation to her knees, the scabs, and the consistent markings of the scabs throughout her life was the description she used for knees. In fact, she doesn’t even go into description of what her knees looked like without the scabs and instead goes in depth with the process of how the scab falls off, is recreated, and is finally healed. She instead gives imagery of the scab process rather than give imagery of what her knee would look like without the scab to introduce her commonly used technique, a memory. The second excerpt seems to be one of the only body parts where she uses imagery to describe the elbow, but doesn’t relate it with a memory, which is why I believe this section is much shorter than the rest of them that includes a memory. The use of the memory helps us connect with her writing and description of the body as well as deepening her writing. In the memory of knees, she tells a story of her falling, but rather than just write she falls, she writes, “accompanied by skipping, rolling, half-airborne pebbles and crumbs of dirt, and the moving surface got whisked out from under my by some trick and I found myself sliding on both knees down the slope, until I tumbled over the curb into the road” (Shelley). Probably her best technique in My Body is her use of imagery and this quote presents a perfect picture of a young girl running down her yard, tripping, then not only falling but “sliding” down on both of her knees on the hard pavement now bloodied up. The memories she utilizes allows her to go much deeper into description of a particular body part than she would without a story, like the elbow, and even opens the availability to present literary techniques such as imagery and similes with more flow in a sense. She uses a simile to describe how time felt at the moment she fell writing, “The present stretched out gravelly and mundane as a driveway” and conveys the exasperating length of time she felt at that moment (Shelley); while it seems like she enjoys the feeling of having bruised/scabbed knees, at the same time she hates the feeling of it presently occurring.

Sources:

Exceprt 1:  http://collection.eliterature.org/1/works/jackson__my_body_a_wunderkammer/knees.html

Excerpt 2: http://collection.eliterature.org/1/works/jackson__my_body_a_wunderkammer/elbow.html

 

Paper # 1 To what extent does Case rely on technology in comparison to other characters?

Charles Dorsey

Mr. Kaouk

English 295

9/25/2016

To what extent does Case rely on technology in comparison to other characters?

The Neuromancer, by William Gibson conveys the reliance of the novel’s characters on advancement of technology, and technology in general. Four different types of characters, Case, Molly, Ratz, and Dixie, all have their own specific reason for the necessity of technology. Case’s relationship with technology has led from borderline-suicidal conditions, to saving his life along with others. Meanwhile, Molly without technology could be both a great or awful thing for her, depending on the level of technology present in her life. Ratz, not being exposed to much technology in the first place has less of a necessity than that of the majority of cyborgs in Neuromancer. And Dixie, not even a human, is tricky and there are multiple arguments whether or not he depends on technology or if he counts as a character relying on technology in his conditions.

Case without cyberspace was a man on death row. During his time in Chiba City after his cyberspace usage was prohibited, his thoughts of suicide got worse and worse by the day, and the crime in Chiba City as well as his drug abuse added to those thoughts. It’s safe to say that Case’s reliance on technology when it comes to his life is vital to his survival. But Cases’ reliance on technology in terms of other people’s’ lives is just as, if not more vital to their survival/success. During Cases’ first mission for Armitage with Molly and the Modern Panthers his abilities with Cyberspace led to the success of the mission as well as the survival of Molly as he led her in the right path to the locker conveying the message to a Modern Panther linker, “tell her five more and ten to her left, Brood” (Gibson 65). The primary instance that affected the main plot of Neuromancer was Case’s ability to escape from Neuromancer’s world and join Wintermute and Neuromancer together thus saving a multitude of people. While it’s clear that Case has a strong reliance for the world of technology, it seems as if others have a reliance for Case’s reliance for technology, or in other words, they rely on Case’s use of technology for their own survival. However, both sides appear to have the same level of necessity, because if technology is taken out of Case’s life, the survival of both parties are lost.

Molly, while having moments relying on Cases’ skills with cyberspace, has her own level of reliance of technology. Molly’s past is correlated with the use of technology connected to the body. From what Case was told, Molly’s first encounter with technology connected to the body was when she was a meat puppet, or a prostitute and a chip was inserted into her so she wouldn’t remember what would be done to her. She was later modified into a killing machine agent with all sorts of technological enhancements that made her excellent at her new job. Molly’s scenario seems confusing as her reliance on technology to live may not outweigh the tragedies technology has brought upon her life. On one side, technology has allowed her to become the best at her occupation and successful in life while also being able to hold her own in terms of defense. But on the other side, technology ruined her life in her past, and led to technology being the only option to get her out of that awful past and into a new life; she was forced into the use of prosthetic enhancements because the Yakuza were after her and there wasn’t much else she could do, especially with the plot Neuromancer is based on. In comparison to Case, both characters have a heavy reliance on technology, but it seems that Case’s reliance is stronger due to the fact that other people rely on him to rely on technology.

Ratz is a prime example of a minor character in Neuromancer that relies on technology, but by no means is on the same level as the primary characters in the novel. Ratz basic reliance is prosthetics, and since he lives in poverty there isn’t even a high level of necessity for his prosthetic. His armed has been replaced with an “antique pink claw” arm and with Ratz’ description it doesn’t seem as if his replacement arm fits his persona (Gibson 4). This goes to show how the level of poverty enhances the lack of technological advancement, as well as the level of reliance for technology. In comparison to Case, Case was already at a higher class level before he arrived to Chiba City, and the factors that influenced the poverty level in Chiba City is what led Case to his suicidal thoughts, such as the theft/crime rate and drug use in the city. Ratz only needs the prosthetic arm to “efficiently” run his low-class bar in order to make a living, meanwhile Case needs cyberspace, which in comparison to prosthetics is on another level of advanced, to protect his life and the lives of others.

From one character who barely needs technology to Dixie, who practically is technology, he is the most confusing character to argue whether or not he depends on technology. In Neuromancer Dixie is described as a cyberspace cowboy from Case’s past, but in the current time frame, his memories are on a CD-ROM which essentially makes him an actual character. It would be easy to say that Dixie does rely on technology because he’s a CD-ROM but it can be argued that it is impossible to judge his reliance on technology due to the fact that he is technology. Or, the only other way would be to judge his reliance based on his human form in Case’s past. Regardless, his reliance seems little-to-none in both cases, unless it’s being argued that Dixie would not exist without technology, therefore Case and Dixie have the same level of reliance on technology. It’s difficult to relate to the real world, because in Neuromancer this is a common and non-surprising form of a person. And characters in the novel still perceive Dixie as a person, regardless of the fact that he has already died and his current life is only created from his past memories. If it’s being argued by the standpoint of a character in Neuromancer then Dixie does have one of the strongest reliances on technology because without it he would not play a part in the novel, he would be non-existent.

Case, a past cyberspace cowboy and current suicidal druggie, Molly, a past prostitute and current killing machine, Ratz a run-down bar owner, and Dixie a CD-ROM had some sort of reliance on technology that led to either a more beneficial future, or survival. Molly got out of the prostitution business and into the hacker’s/agents business; Ratz is able to use his prosthetic arm in a more practical manner than with only one arm; Dixie can still technically live on and was able to aid Case on his mission, and Case went from a potential suicide to saving multiple people’s lives.

(word count:1183)

Works Cited

Gibson, William. Neuromancer. , 1984. Print.

 

Blog entry week 2

From reading “Mythinformation” after Neuromancer it makes me think about the small instances in Neuromancer where the access to information is so accessible that it seems to make, at least in the perspective of our generation, less knowledgeable and in a sense “lazy.” While I don’t believe Case in anyway is lazy, his accessibility to information has resulted in him not having the need to read, just one example. And while Winner thinks of “cyberspace” as a revolution, it seems in Neuromancer cyberspace and technology itself has led to an evolution for humans, whether it be mental changes like reading or physical changes like prosthetics. I do agree that there is a primary concern in both pieces of work that are complementary to each other, and that is the fear of the social impact technology will hold in the future (considering both were written in the mid-80s). Winner brings up the point that information leads to knowledge which leads to power (winner 108). But he also states that with so much accessible information if the person who is getting the information doesn’t have that level of desire for the amount of information they can receive it’ll create “history’s worst evils” which are things like ignorance, illiteracy, and restrictions of knowledge. In Neuromancer all three of these “evils” are seen throughout the novel, with the illiteracy and ignorance in the lower-class Chiba, and the restrictions of knowledge by the government; Case, Molly, and Armitage play a big role in gathering information that is set to be restricted but being hackers is very accessible and highlights Winners’ knowledge leads to power claim. It can also be argued that Gibson predicted some of these “evils” in today’s society;mainly correlated with this course, deep attention is reaching an all-time low from recorded history and could eventually lead to illiteracy as a social norm in upcoming generations.

Blog entry week 1

The passage I’ve selected is the entirety of Case and Molly’s first major mission in collaboration with the Moderns for Armitage from pages 60-67. During this mission all three parties, Case, Molly, and Panther Modern’s linkman utilized hyper attention from when Case entered his program, or cyberspace, versus simstim to when Molly retrieved the Dixie construct from the locker. Prior to the actual heist, however, Case as well as Panther Modern have a need for deep attention to setup the mission successfully. Case spent nine days working at Net’s ice, and one of those days “he jacked in and worked for nine straight hours” to ensure success (Gibson 59). But in terms of preforming the heist, Case had to keep switching between cyberspace to pinpoint the location of the locker and Molly’s simstim, Molly had to listen out for the linkman while also making sure she doesn’t get suspected and if she does then defending herself, and the linkman has to make sure both Case and Molly’s messages are getting passed successfully as well as making sure the Modern’s distraction plan is going as planned. In this case of the heist, Case and Molly definitely prefer hyper attention due to the fact that there is a small window to get the heist done as planned, but for Case specifically he seems to prefer the deep attention whenever he is in the cyberspace and there’s not a need to switch out of cyberspace. Even out of cyberspace, Case seems to have a preference for deep attention; trying to find out who he and Molly are really working for is taken very slowly, patiently, and carefully. After getting information about Corto from hacking the London database with Dixie, he doesn’t immediately tell Molly about his findings saying or of what he’s doing with Dixie “tell you later, I’m wrecked” (Gibson 82). He instead closely analyzes this hacked information in comparison with what he already knows about Armitage. In regards to when the novel was published, it was a time when computers were just getting started and the pre-golden age for technology. Imagination of what computers held for people in the near future were limitless, and things like the simstim and cyberspace in Neuromancer seemed almost at grasp.

Source:

  • Gibson, William. Neuromancer. , 1984. Print.