I’m having some serious technical issues today, which is why I’m writing and posting my blog post via my iPhone. Hopefully, Internet in my apartment will be resolved tomorrow at noon, but until then, I have my trusty smart phone to lead me through the darkness. On a side note, I have never had a problem with my Internet in the whole year and a half I’ve had AT&T. I feel like I’m living one of the major concerns of using new media in a classroom; what happens when it fails and the coffeeshop on the block with wifi is closed?!
This week focused on visual rhetoric, and specific activities to do in the classroom. While selfe discussed the composing of visual rhetoric, I was refreshed to read Anne Frances wysocki advocate for teaching critical reading of visual texts. For my thesis, I’m looking at Guy Debord’s Society of the spectacle, and how the ideology transformed into visual masks the complexities of real life. A great debate in the world of cultural criticism and Marxism is whether society has the tools or the will to debunk the spectacle. All of this praise of visual rhetoric has left out any skepticism about the nature and power of the visual. More than just teaching students how to compose, we must teach how to read critically.
This provides a great opportunity for students to think about visual representations of the body, gender, race, developing countries, and other categories in a deep, nuanced manner. Yes, students are mostly reading/viewing visual rhetoric at home, but who is producing the new media they are consuming? What underlying messages and ideals are embodied by the visual/ the culture of illusion/ the spectacle?
Debord asserts that to undo the power of the spectacle, society must engage dialectally; that is the recipe for liberation. The classroom provides this foundation, and like Wysocki, I believe it is our responsibility as teachers to provide that space.
I’m curious to see how and when cultural criticism about the spectacle and the culture of illusion merge with new media studies. Both are concerned with the visual, how it manifests and how it is consumed, but they have a slightly different agenda. Thankfully, compositionists, like Wysocki, are bringing these issues to the forefront.
I apologize for the shortness and the formatting of this post. My thumbs are tired, and I hope the words speak for themselves!