On the subject of Newt, mass media and culture:
1. Since the GOP has put eliminating PBS/NPR on their agenda, does anyone
know if there is an organized resistance to this yet? Ought we to start
2. I find it odd that the Speaker Designate has jumped on the Al Gore/Info
Superhighway/Third Wave/Alvin Toffler bandwagon and is making it a
conservative issue. I've heard him reference THE THIRD WAVE several times
in the past week. It got a rousing cheer when he brought it up to a
gathering of young Republicans at a leadership conference. Newt says he
believes we must make government documents and Congressional bills and
email correspondence available to citizens via computers. I know that his
office was one of the couple dozens that received trial email addresses
last year, but surely he must know this stuff is already up and running.
And now he wants to take credit for leading the way?
(Digression for film scholars: Has anyone else looked at the
amazing availability of the Library of Congress Early Motion Picture
Collection, 1897-1916 on the World Wide WEb?)
My point is that at present I am finding a real and useful and
exciting application of these new technologies in the classroom. If we
push a democratic, universal, public access model for development of NII,
we might take advantage of some of this potential in a way that doesn't
further social and class divisions.
If the GOP way of privatization and profiteering holds, this
amazing free access for students will be gone.
We need to develop more intensive lobbying on this, and obviously
more potent, legislative issues.
Yesterday alone I had 3 remarkable encounters with students just learning
access to cyberspace, students who otherwise have not been especially
excited about learning.
After only 1 cyberspace demo to a class of non-computer using students
1. One asked about finding some sci-fi scripts on-line; after one trip
into cyberspace he found the motherload of stuff he wanted. He was quite
excited and was itching to start writing.
2. A second asked if it was possible to find on-line a list of names of
Italian immigrants who came through Ellis Island in 1904. I had no idea.
But it took us all of two minutes to go through hierarchical Web menus:
FEDERAL to National Archives to Geneology to Immigration to New York City
to the correct year -- and we got a very long list of names.
3. A student who wanted to do a radio documentary on 3 Eastern European
towns he had visited was convinced one could not do geography on the radio.
We went to the NPR site and found the SOUND PRINT archives. In about a
minute I was able to give him print-outs of outlines, bibliographies, and
rundowns for a Cultural Geography documentary series that included trips to
Eurasia. We even got a 30-second sound bite excerpt to suggest the texture
of sounds, actuality and narration he might use.
I would hate to lose access like this, especially given my University's
very poor and getting poorer library resources.