[rumori] simulacra nation

Boster, Bob [rumori] simulacra nation
Thu, 8 Oct 1998 13:37:10 -0700 (00907879030, c=US%a=_%p=HIII%l=MAIN_SERVER-981008203710Z-25247atserver2.orban.com)

>From: Thom[SMTP:thomatretina.net]
>Sent: Thursday, October 08, 1998 12:00 PM
> maybe our easy acceptance of a virtual world is because of a
>common life pursuing and celebrating illusion and fantasy. Maybe our
>desire for a fantastic world is a reaction to the horrors of war, famine
>and disease.

Not just that, although I think you are onto one of the main motivators.
I think also the fact that our minds "happen" to work that way. We are biologically constructed to be able to "imagine" unreal scenarios. We dream outside of our conscious control. We "visualize" (for lack of a better word) music, and art, and whole realities. This is not cultural,
all cultures have some bits of this aspect of human thought.

> I think children are more apt to be
>involved in the lives of fictional characters and not understand that say
>"ally mcbeal" is not a real person, but a character in a show. But what is
>the difference between playing a role on stage and playing a role in Real
>Life. Children learn what you teach them, and they learn from what you
>don't teach them.

This is why it is one of the most important issue in our society that we
start to teach kids to "read" media. We are the last English speaking society to implement a mandatory "media education" curriculum. We're teaching kids to read _Moby Dick_ but we're not telling them anything
about how to watch the Nightly News. Ridiculous.

> But while most children have seen people get blown away in movies,
>I dont' think any of them are prepared for the reality of a gun shot
>wound. I don't think many American Children understand death, or humanity,
>or the larger issues of the implications of their actions.

What are you defining as a child? I think the gun violence statistics
are high enough that you could be wrong, unless you mean "under age 10" or something like that. Most people define children in these sorts of
discussions as "under the age of independence" which would be 18, and I think a majority of the 0-18 year olds in the country knows that a gun
causes death, and what death means. Now "humanity" on the other hand...

>Is this a
>failure of a society, or have we been successful in helping children
>dissociate from reality to live in a world of imagination and inspiration?
>After all, we inherited a complex and often ugly world with challenges
>unimaginable to previous societies. And people of my generation thought we
>had a bad shake and shaved our heads and pierced our faces and moved into
>the cities and made violent music and took drugs and railed against
>society. The next generation, it seems, will not have to deal with the
>shock of the real because they will learn to create a personal illusion,
>not change our collective reality.

They don't call it cyber-"space" for nothing. I agree with the above, but think that you are assuming that the personal spaces will be
non-cultural as a result of being "self-constructed". I think this is true, but is also completely likely to be informed by the mass culture,
capital-based data hurled at all individuals. Anyone ever read Michel
de Certeau? The idea of people "using" the mass culture objects in their own ways for their own purposes is on the rise (guy in my office
is a "furry", some of whom take anthropomorphized furry animals and turn them into sexual icons). Expect to see a lot more of that.

Great thread. Sorry it took me so long to get into it, but I was
waiting for the cereal to fall away...