Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Modern Technology

Modernism is heavily intertwined with the idea of embracing technology, science, and the human capacity for means of progress. Technology is the cause of the industrial revolution and it is only fitting that technology today affects everyday life, rather controls everyday life. Technology is responsible for the mass publication of books. Books were treasured items and considered leisure activity. Books, at first, were only available to the nobility and upper class, but the possibility of mass production gave way to capitalism. Capitalism emerged from industrialization within most of the western world. This concept somewhat encouraged the advancement of the technological industry because progress was certainly taking place. Today, technology has reached its pinnacle with many inventions. It is safe to say that the world today is in fact a digital world. The digitization of many devices greatly affects social and political aspects of everyday life. Ray Bradbury’s book Fahrenheit 451 not only illustrated a world without books, but also foreshadowed a world of heightened technological feats. Francois Truffaut, through the invention of many devices used for movie making, was able to translate, or rather, attempt to translate Bradbury’s vision and perspective of Fahrenheit 451. Modernism and the embrace of technology greatly affect social and political aspects of life. The digital world has taken over and whether or not its outcome is positive or negative in the long run, for now it seems like technological domination controls and everyday life.

The effects of technology on society is somewhat viewed as negative. With great emphasis on digital devices, social communications is greatly affected. The notion that instead of buying books, one can actually download the text from the Internet. The invention of “Kindle” will change the production of books in the near future. “Kindle” is a thin, lightweight, electronic reading device that can be taken anywhere with the ability to download books, newspapers, magazines, etc. It was created by Ray Bradbury’s book Fahrenheit 451 has certainly foreshadowed this inventive way of reading because it in fact demolishes the actual book itself. The idea of “burning books” correlates to today’s notion of not buying books at all. “Do you know why books such as this are so important? Because they have quality. And what does the word quality mean? To me it means texture. This book has pores” (Bradbury). The importance of books is explicated, buy convey that books offer meaning, meaning to life. The same meaning can be included in existing media like television and radio, but people no longer demand it. The details of life are in fact authentic experiences. The invention of technology takes away a part of these experiences. Banning books in Bradbury’s world is equivalent to what eBooks and Kindle offer to society. These inventions have certainly brought new ways for which teaching and communication is practiced. Teachers will be downloading books for their students as opposed to asking them to physically buy the books. But one needs to question whether or not eBooks and Kindle offer the same quality. Although the knowledge is still the same, the meaning of reading an actual book has changed. Unknowingly to Bradbury, his book Fahrenheit 451 somewhat foreshadowed the digital world and the advancement of such technological feats. How ironic that books can possibly cease to exist in the near future due to the invention of Kindle and eBooks.

The invention of technology used to make film production greatly affects the translation of novels to film. Movies and Film are definitely limited to fully express a novel and book. The same limitations are set with books and by the inability to fully illustrate imagery. Technology affects original ideas and theories of authors. The directors translation is trying to imitate but cannot fully duplicate the author’s thoughts because of the limitations of language and visuals. Technology can only do so much to offer knowledge. But to some extent, Francois Truffaut is able to capture and illustrate what Bradbury is ultimately trying to convey. In the movie, the scene that seems to capture the true essence of Bradbury’s theme is in fact the parlor scene. During this scene, the audience is able to see exactly how lack of thinking and thought will be taken over by technology. Mildred believes that her involvement in the decision- making is vital when really they are merely talking about seating arrangements. The scene encompasses Bradbury’s idea that technology will hinder social consciousness. Books are no longer used for thought and imagination and technology merely manipulates society into thinking that it takes thought to utilize. Bradbury’s ideas are addressed and fully illustrated by Francois Truffaut’s adaptation of the book. This is a rarity when novels are made into film.

“Some critics have discerned in these generative practices only a

continuation of the modern tendency to contest, attack, destroy such traditional fictional concerns as thematic causality, linear chronology, justified narrative viewpoint, and the life, thus working at the aesthetic level. Postmodern critics prefer to view the situation differently; for them, generative structures isolate and protect the work of art and by referring always back into the text (verbal or visual), enable the novel or film to exist independently, aside from ideology or sociological issues” (Morrissette).

Translation of novel to film generates many questions at to the extent in which the film can do the novel any justice. The film is able to illustrate the setting, time, and background of the novel but it is within certain situations where the novel can only fully explain a theory or idea through language. Technology somewhat hindered this ability for actual books. Film and movies can only offer a visual translation and though rare at times can fully image an author’s theory and ideas.

Of the greatest technological inventions, the greatest above all is the Internet. The Internet has heavily affected modern life and the digital world. There are few who disagree with the notion that these digital devices do more harm than good. This point of view sides with the notion that the Internet and its online social networks increase social life in the physical world as well as in the digital world.

“People who most relied on these communication tools had a larger and more diverse group of close friends and family members… Internet use didn’t replace involvement in local activities-net users and Facebook fans are just as likely as anyone else to visit neighbors in person. In, fact bloggers and cell users are more likely to belong to local organizations like youth groups and charities” (Szalavitz).

The article is ultimately saying that the more involved one is with online social networks the more involved they are with their physical community. It is perceived that these online communities that enable people to stay connected promote a healthier view towards life in general; the happier and more aware they are of themselves and others around them. Online social networks were somewhat foreshadowed in Ray Bradbury’s novel and Francois Truffaut’s film with the presentation of the parlor scene. The idea of being able to talk directly to people through a device from the comfort of home or wherever one may be is a technological feat. This idea opened the door for exploration of making this an actual possibility. The invention of the computer and the Internet enables these ventures to become true. Online social networks can either be viewed as negative or positive. These affects on social consciousness can also be seen in education. Online classes offered at many colleges and universities.

“Researchers suggests that online courses are not suitable for all types of

students and faculty. Students and teachers react to new educational technologies with varied emotions, ranging from enthusiasm to disabling fear. The text-based computer-mediated communication that is used by Internet-based e-learning systems for discussion board email discourse is a powerful tool for group communication and cooperative learning that promotes a level of reflective interaction that is often lacking in a face-to-face, teacher-centered classroom. However, the reduced non-verbal social cues, such as the absence of facial expressions and voice inflections, can generate misunderstandings that adversely affect learning” (Rovai).

This explanation of online courses does in fact convey the affects on its problems with technology replacing the classroom. Students who still need a teacher’s presence would receive technology in the classroom better. Technology can only do some much whereas the teacher and instructor can offer a full education towards the subject.

Technology can also take a toll on the political aspect of everyday life. Technological advances make it possible for media as well as the Internet to shape public opinion on political matters. Technology such as digital communication is democratizing American culture. The idea of democratizing is the notion that that Internet holds and displays many opinions on anything and everything. The Internet is not regulated whatsoever thus enabling anyone to speak their mind, convey their thoughts, and forward their creativity through technology. The availability of these thoughts and the ways by which one can come across it has become less of a struggle for discovery. The Internet and online social networks take on the responsibility of conveying to Americans what is fashionable and what is not.

“The channels for communicating have mushroomed in recent years; society is quickly adapting and finding new ways to use these channels to get their voice heard, to socialize, to interact, build relationships and to learn. This creates the desire to plug in, to be connected to the stream of information constantly, creating the behaviour described as ‘continuous partial attention.’ The rules of engagement have changed we no longer have top down communications but we are witnessing the democratizing of communications” (Allen).

Digital devices make it possible for the world, not only America, to connect with each other. A social life can now exist through the computer and not be constricted to physical placement in society. Online social networks are arenas where individuals can display their talents and share their interests. Anyone can post a blog strategically placed in arenas such as these social networks to gain an immediate audience and followers. The easy access by digital devices such as the cell phone enables an infinite amount of information about certain issues on society.

“The concept of media democratization, emphasizing the process, avoids

hypostatizing ‘democracy’ as a fixed and final state of affairs. It also connotes those in other social spheres. Here, it is useful to distinguish between democratization through the media (the use of media, whether by governments or civil society actors, to promote democratic goals and processes elsewhere in society), and democratization of the media themselves” (Carroll).

The Internet is a massive forum for anyone to post a blog or even build a website to push their opinions toward certain issues in politics especially now during this modern age. The Internet is a massive forum for anyone to post a blog or even build a website to push their opinions toward certain issues in politics especially among the generation that has grown up in the digital world.

“The media have also become a crucial arena for shaping the public space and the citizenry itself---crucial, in the sense that although it is not a new phenomenon, it is an intense and substantive one --- due both to the weight they bring to bear on the definition of public agendas and their capacity to establish the legitimacy of certain debates. The predominance of the media is such, with respect to other venues of social mediation --- parties, unions, churches, educational establishments, etc. --- that these can only prevail by continually recurring to the media” (Leon).

Digital communication has somewhat evolved to accommodate the rise of new technology. Digital devices, such as the cell phone, have become the tool for immediate news and updates about certain current events happening in America and around the world. The media and how it presents an already biased opinion on certain issues in society have popularized the effects of such tactics to form public opinion. In a very obvious way, the Internet has become a way by which public opinion can be shaped by the information that is presented. The idea that Internet is now available at the palm of one’s hand has made democratizing communication easier for media to sort of govern the masses.

Certain issues have risen over whether this type of communication is valid or rather constitutionally right. Policy-makers would like to regulate the issue but really how can that be when the Internet is not regulated at all.

“How do the supposed decline of traditional news media such as newspaper, struggles over copyright, the emergence of new ways of communicating online, questions about who owns or controls the Internet, or access to the information we need, relate to social policy concerns such as sustainable development, immigration, environmental degradation, labor rights, gender equity, and other concerns across the America?” (Canadian Journal).

These questions bring on ideas and notions that the Internet must become a sort of political realm to push forward party notions and agendas among the avid Internet users. The media has a heavy role in the participation of molding and shaping public opinion; digital devices have become the tool to forward these biased opinions on the masses.

Modernism certainly embraced technology for the advancement of everyday life. Progress has definitely taken place but the outcome seems to hinder social consciousness. The idea that books have been replaced with mechanics of the Internet has started a literature phenomenon in itself. Ray Bradbury’s book Fahrenheit 451 somewhat foreshadowed the riddance of books. The book what diminished because it was believed to create equality, but Bradbury used that notion to simply convey that technology will in fact take over and that notion did in fact occur. Because technology enabled film production, Francois Truffaut was able to attempt to convey Bradbury’s book and illustrate his theory and ideas. Though never possible to fully imitate or duplicate a novel when translating it to film, Truffaut came close to conveying the theory. Technology reached its pinnacle with the invention of the Internet. The Internet made it possible for social communication to evolve. The Internet and its capabilities made way for online social networks as well as new ways for education. Although the Internet is said to hinder social consciousness, some also say that the Internet does in fact improve society. Politics have also been greatly affected with the invention of the Internet. The Internet is a tool that can shape public opinion and is basically an arena to form political views. The democratization of communication through the Internet holds no regulations, this matter does in fact question certain constitutional rights and the government is very aware of the damage or effectiveness that the Internet can cause on politics.

Works Cited

Allen, Claire. “Style Surfing changing parameters of fashion communication – where have they gone?” Inter-Diciplinary.Net. August 2009. 4 Decemebr 2009. .

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1967.

Canadian Journal of Communication-Special issue: Communication Policy in the Americas: Why it matters. Young Scholars Network. 26 November 2009.

Carroll, William and Robert A. Hackett. “ Media, Culture & Society Democratic media activism through the lens of social movement theory.” Sage Journals Online. January 1983. 4 December 2009. .

Fahrenheit 451. Dir. Francois Truffaut. Perf. Oskar Werner, Julia Christie. 1966

Leon, Osvaldo. “Democratizing communications and the media.” The Panama News Volume 8, Number 2. January-February 2002. 4 December 2009. <>.

Morrissette, Bruce. Novel and Film: essays in two genres. University of Chicago Press, 1985. 48-49.

Rovai, Alfred and Hope M. Jordan. “ Blended Learning and Sense of Community: A comparative analysis with traditional and fully online graduate courses.” International Review of Research in Open Distance Learning. Regent University, USA, 2004. <>.

Szalavitz, Maia. “Internet Net Plus for Social Life, Doesn’t Increase Isolation.” 5 Nov.2009. 14 November 2009..

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Upon reading Foucault’s piece on Discipline and Punish, Panopticism, I immediately had to  look up the word “panopticism.” It is a word I have never heard before and this is  definitely the opportunity to learn a new word.  This  “social theory” is new to me and I  think Foucault thoroughly explains it. I understand that this theory requires attention at all  times and must be enforced all the way through.  In my opinion, the theory constricts and  instead of creating some kind of balance, it actually creates an even bigger rift.  The idea of disciplining people by force does not seem ethical, but in stories like this it  seems like ethics are thrown out the window. Controlling society does not at all promote  discipline but I believe promotes fear.   The place described on Foucault’s piece is more like a prison. The “panopticon” was  invented to constrict society in order to create equality and balance but really it  relinquishes individuality and objection. This is unnecessary supervision.   This certain supervision is reminiscent of tyranny and utopias need some degree of  tyranny to succeed. The succession, I believe is the overall discipline of the state or  society.  From my understanding, the piece is reminds me of some kind of prelude to tyranny and  socialism. Foucault’s rather long and descriptive piece emphasizes different mediums of  discipline and conveys that discipline should be forced. I do not agree with Foucault but I  can see where he is headed and what he is trying to convey.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Modern Social Equality

Ray Bradbury, in his novel Fahrenheit 451, not only suggests the wrongs of censorship but also approaches the idea of equality. The corresponding movie, directed by Francois Truffaut illustrates the ideas of Bradbury that words cannot express. The power of technology’s ability to put forth a work of art is beyond imagination. Charles Taylor exemplifies the idea of equality in his book Modern Social Imaginaries. Theodor Adorno and Max Horkeimer, in their piece, “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception,” address the result of new technology and the effects of the technology on art, in this case, literature. Bradbury addresses issues with technology and politics that hinder social practices and effect equality among a modern generation.

Ray Bradbury conveys that equality among the masses can be acquired with the elimination of a freedom or opportunity. In this case, the complete annihilation of books and literature to decrease inferiority among a society. This also suggests the idea that technology will soon take over and books will no longer be used. Francois Truffaut is able to capture and illustrate what Bradbury is ultimately trying to convey. In the movie, the scene that seems to capture the true essence of Bradbury’s theme is in fact the parlor scene. During this scene, the audience is able to see exactly how lack of thinking and thought will be taken over by technology. Mildred believes that her involvement in the decision- making is vital when really they are merely talking about seating arrangements. The scene encompasses Bradbury’s idea that technology will hinder social consciousness. Books are no longer used for thought and imagination and technology merely manipulates society into thinking that it takes thought to utilize. Bradbury’s ideas are addressed and fully illustrated by Francois Truffaut’s adaptation of the book.

Charles Taylor’s book Modern Social Imaginaries can be related to the more social aspect of Bradbury’s book. The riddance of books promotes equality with the decreased inferiority between people that read books and people that do not read books. Taylor suggests that politics should not work toward any specific ordering of the world, but it should merely do whatever needs to be done for the happiness of society (Taylor, 93). In other words, politics should not try to control society but simply make available and create activities and organizations that promote opportunity for the betterment of society and equality as well. The individual in society should have the opportunity to obtain his or her own happiness through their own thought and imagination. Bradbury addresses this issue when he comments on lack of thought and manipulation of the government. Taylor’s idea of “the social imaginary” primarily expresses the lived practices in which people in society engage in everyday life among one another developing a social understanding of one’s self (Taylor). These practices are illustrated through the restrictions that Bradbury uses in his novel. Equality is not really reached in the novel and Charles Taylor’s book explains why.

Ray Bradbury’s notion that technology hinders social consciousness is also exemplified through Theodor Adorno and Max Horkeimer’s piece, “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception.” This piece discusses the effects of technology on art, rather literature. Bradbury’s thoughts on the negativity of technology are clear throughout the novel. Adorno and Horkheimer exemplify and further Bradbury’s ideas. “This is the result not of law of movement in technology as such but of its function in today’s economy. The need which might resist central control has already been suppressed by the control of the individual consciousness” (Adorno). Adorno conveys that technology replaces social skills and consciousness and also eliminates somewhat a sense of individuality. The media in forms of entertainment that do not require an extensive attention span replaces technology. Society is hindered when technology like this takes over social consciousness and art in its true form, in this case literature in no longer appreciated and acknowledged. Bradbury along with Adorno and Horkheimer agree that technology and its effects on society are negative and do not promote social awareness and individuality.

Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451, comments on the way government falsely tries to employ equality among society with taking away a certain privilege and opportunity. The elimination of books also eliminates thought and imagination among society. Rather than promoting individualism, politics negatively tries to control how equality is obtained. Charles Taylor exemplifies the right way in which individuality and equality can be obtained in his book Modern Social Imaginaries. Bradbury’s ideas on the effects on technology can also be related to Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer piece “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception.” This piece comments on the effects of technology on art. Literature is a form of art, and the development of technology will hinder social consciousness and appreciation for art itself. Bradbury’s novel not only suggests problems with society but also acknowledges that technology and its on going development will definitely change the future of society and its social skills.

Works Cited

Adorno, Theodor and Max Horkheimer. “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass

Deception.” Dialectic of Enlightenment. 1998. 17 Nov.2009 .

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Simon and Schuster. 1967.

Fahrenheit 451. Dir. Francois Truffaut. Perf. Oskar Werner, Julia Christie. 1966

Taylor, Charles. Modern Social Imaginaries. Duke Universiry Press, 2004.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fahrenheit 451

Group Work!? Tell me about it! But this particular group, I call the “All-Star Group,” was not like any group I have ever worked with before. I guess it’s because we tried to make the presentation fun. Although we had many ideas for the way we wanted to present both the book and the movie of Fahrenheit 451, we were able to gather our thoughts and outline a production that worked. We all had different and similar views of the book and the movie and were able to agree to disagree at times, though rare was that occasion because our views were mostly similar.

As for the book and the movie, the many differences between the two enhanced my understanding of the purpose of a Film and Literature class. I found that the movie did not do the book any justice but the assignment was to show how the two compliment each other, and that was exactly what the All-Star group did.

What I found most interesting was the youtube video we found online. The mere idea of banning the very book that brought up the idea of banning books is so ironic, extremely ironic! I feel that these people failed to realize what Ray Bradbury was in fact trying to convey and only saw Bradbury’s strategy and style of writing. And another thing, I really do not believe that the father in the youtube video read the book, I think he scanned through the pages and just weeded out the profanities and anti-Christian slurs.

Overall, the book and the movie did in fact complement each other because it managed to heighten my understanding of Bradbury’s piece.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Social Conditioning

When Louis Althusser wrote “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses” in 1970, he discussed his theory of capitalism and its vital necessity to survive through reproduction. In relation to Althusser piece, the film “A Clockwork Orange” directed by Stanley Kubrick in 1971, further exemplifies the idea of Althusser theory. The film somewhat allocates Althusser’s ideas on ideology. Years later in 2006, Randy Martin’s “Where did the future go?” not only exemplified the theory of Althusser but also conveyed the idea of what Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange.”

Louis Althusser discusses all the different aspects of how capitalism should work and most importantly what is needed for it to stay successful. Society is a major player in the “survival” of capitalism. Althusser conveyed the idea that social conditions should be reproduced for the production of a long lasting, working, successful society. Ultimately, Althusser believes that State Apparatuses, for example the Ideological State Apparatus and the Repressive State Apparatus, ultimately conditions society and molds social behavior to what is needed for the survival of the government. The Repressive Apparatus function on violence first then ideology. The extremities of violence can be fixed when ideology is forced. Althusser conveys that the future, in order to survive and maintain a government, must continually produce social formations that are “appropriate” for the reproduction of the ideal society.

Stanley Kubrick’s film, “A Clockwork Orange” exemplifies Althusser’s ideology. The film takes place in Britain where it is implied that it is now the future. The main character, Alex, a young man involved in every aspect of violence ranging from burglary to rape. Eventually Alex is imprisoned and it is there where he learns of the “Ludovico Technique.” A government experiment that conditions the prisoner’s mind to never use violence again. His first treatment session made him sick, in which the Dr.’s assured him that it is part of the first step to being “cured,” but in reality, he felt sick because they drugged him. When Alex is released, he is conditioned by the government to live the ideal social behavior. The film illustrates an ideal society with relation to Louis Althusser’s piece. The conditioning of society for the survival of the government is what can be drawn from both Althusser and Kubrick’s work.

Randy Martin’s piece “Where did the Future go?” written in 2006, is mainly about the war in Iraq. He discusses the reformation of Iraq and what is possibly needed for the survival and the successfulness of the “new” government. Martin’s piece is in relation to Althusser and Kubrick’s work because it primarily discusses the idea of social formation. Iraq is being forced, by violence, to understand and accept a new ideology. Iraqis must be conditioned to fit a mold of an ideal society that will ensure the survival of the government for their reformation. Martin believes that the future cannot be taken from the present when the present cannot even be identified.

The main idea of Louis Althusser’s piece was to convey that an ideal government should have a successful society with ideal social behavior. Stanley Kubrick’s film illustrates this idea of conditioning society to fit an ideal mold. Many years later, after Althusser and Kubrick’s works, Randy Martin discusses a situation where Althusser’s ideology can be applied. Martin, with the use of the situation in Iraq, exemplifies Althusser’s ideas of social formations and a conditioned society.