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class summary

xhan's picture


Today's class revolved around determining the difference between originality and authenticity. In order to do so, one must define what it means to be original and authentic. 

 Anne pointed out that "if you're doing something new with something old, do we agree that anything you make is a mixture of something old(if everything is a remix a product of everything that's already made)

jr. pointed out that it's possible to create something that comes before but that is different from claiming someone else's work as your own.  Our class then began to discuss what it means for a text to be "authentic". Someone mentioned that authenticity is measured by the amount of effort puts in. skin-deep argued that authenticity is not so much about the amount of effort one puts in, but how much of yourself you up in. Anne clarified skindeep's ___ by suggesting that authentic is about how "real" something is, and asked the class "what makes something real?" Anne explains, after listening to our discussion that Ms. Hegemann's view on authenticity is "creating something that we all share…common to all humanity…somehing that is a trull representation of our experiences even if it's not original". sag 90 questioned this assertion and pointing out that "you can't directly take someone's work and claim that it's authentic". Meanwhile Anne tried to defend her claim by providing the class with an example: suppose you were to quote something to express your affection for someone you love, wouldn't doing so be considered "authentic"?  skin-deep then referred to a brave new world, in which someone quotes shakespeare in order to express himself but eventually he learns the language so he no longer has to quote shakespeare. This leads to the assertion that when using someone else's words to say what you feel is not an original but an authentic act. 

Our class then moved on to discussing plagiarism. Anne asked us, why is plagiarism such an issue now and what do people care? Someone responded that because it is so much easier to get information online, it doesn't "feel like stealing". Herbie pointed out that there is so much money involved. Anne then asked, what if someone steals the essay you're going to write? When you take someone else's work, who are you hurting? Our class came to an agreement that you are only hurting yourself, that even though you may have finished an assignment, you have not learned anything. However, in  some ways, plagiarism might serve as a benefit. Herbie mentioned that in terms of writing grant proposals, someone might benefit from taking someone else's grant proposal. Someone else in the class, gave us another example. Scientific papers such as the remix manifesto restrict people from sharing ideas. Since people tend to be afraid that others will steal your work, you're more likely not to share your ideas and are more likely to hide them. Anne then explained that the reason she doesn't believe in the "vision of an isolated scholar" because it "stops the free-exchange of information" . Our class however, being the hard-working students that we are, believes that "effort should be awarded and slackers should be punished!". spleenfiend suggest that if everyone keeps "taking" noone would really "create".  teal exclaims, and seems to speak on behalf of the whole class(at least that's what it seems) and provides us with a clear and humorous metaphor: that's just how we're "we're hard-wired[…] i hunted down that line i "killed" that line-and you just took MY line"! This leads Anne to ask, are we creating a culture of scarcity or of bounty-is there a LIMITED amount of sharing amongst us? skin-deep soberly points that everyone SHOULD work hard, but thats never going to happen. This brings Anne to ask so WHY are we so busy policing other people's behavior, why is my work validated ONLY if other people is working hard? Anne then admits that a lot of what she does has to do with taking other people's ideas and synthesizing them…and hence calls herself a "re-mixer".  That leads me to wonder which is truly considered to be plagiarism: branching off someone else's ideas or copying someone's ideas word for word? Although our class would argue that copying someone else's ideas word for word would be stealing, i think that even though you may elaborate upon an idea, or build off of other people's ideas, you are still "taking" from someone else and in that sense, such an act could be considered stealing. On the other hand, when you are copying someone else's ideas word for word, you are  not "stealing" their work-you are not making something your own-but rather you are "using" their ideas. 

For the second part of class, we read our comments to Geeky Mom's blog out loud. Anne asked us the class to see who played video games and who kept a blog to see if there were any correlations between the two.  Our class came to the agreement that there really wasn't much of a link, and that it really depends on the type of gamer you are (solitary or social). We then explored the question of self-editing, do we feel represented when we read these summaries, and are we surprised at other people's interpretations?  aybala50 suggests that people are much more interested in personal experience while skin-deep suggests that it's not so much personal experience that people are interested in, but it's more about the "substance", which she later defines as something that is not "2D". jrlewis adds that she likes the Geeky Mom blog more than the food one because it is "more fun to read about someone that's constantly thinning about stuff than about 18th century monologuing no food that I can't food". ShaynaS points out that personal blogs are really character-driven.  Anne then concludes that if we are drawn to the blogs that are "us" and not interested in ones that aren't-we're not learning and hearing from people that are different from us. However, some people in the class argue that this is not necessarily true, and mention that they do like to read blogs that aren't entirely "them".  We then started to talk about Laura and blogging as means of "social software", about connection with others.  Ann asks the class, "what kind of a community does a benevolent dictator create?" She mentions that Laura's blog is a personal blog that aims to create a social network and asks us if we only comment when we're reaching forward and if we're less interested in connecting for the sake of connecting. Our class observed that even though Laura does invites comments directly with comments such as "What do you want to discuss?, What do you all suggest, to Any advice, oh wise readers?", she doesn't receive a lot of feedback. jrlewis personally thinks that "having friends is great".  We then talked about the characteristics of Laura's blog, and how she is portrayed as an "outsider". We talked about the advantages of being on the margin, how Laura are able to see new things, and serves as a challenge to the "productivism mentality".  Anne then asks our class, about how Laura's description of everything she's doing that's not productive affects our reaction to this definition of  "productivity". spleenfield says she feels less guilty this has made her feel less guilty for wanting to watch cartoons all day.  We ended the class with the question of whether productivity is a measure of what we do!

As with everything else, I think beginning to answer this question has to do with defining what productivity means, and as with many definitions, this can mean different things to different people. Just because we don't meet someone else's requirement of being "productive" does not necessarily mean that we're being unproductive.  


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