Saturday, June 02, 2007

The modern world

I've just finished reading the classic book by Alvin Toffler, Future shock. I read it because it seems to be increasingly quoted, perhaps due to a refreshed belief that our culture and society are speeding up to a point where we've reached the peak and things are changing in a major way. I dunno if that's just hype, or ego (of course it would be for us that things are different), but it was an interesting read nonetheless.

The future predictions were fun - apparently we should all be living under the sea by now, and why did that idea go away anyway? - but there was one big, nasty weakness in the book. It seemed that Mr Toffler didn't ever consider the impact of women's liberation. Throughout the book he refers to women only as wives and mothers. The impact of women in the workplace never occurs to him. Nor does the concept of an increasingly large number of women in affluent societies choosing to remain single and / or childless. At one point he talks about how women are more proactive in making connections when entering a new neighbourhood, or when welcoming someone new to the neighbourhood, but that's the only thing they have to offer. And that kind of pissed me off.

But apart from that I enjoyed finding out how many of our current concepts stem from this book. The concept of information overload, which we are all WELL familiar with, came from here. And I often found myself wondering what Mr Toffler would think of web 2.0, with it's online social structures combining with intense individuality. I think he would have been impressed.

Ooo, I had a fun "this internet thing is cool" moment the other night. One of my favourite websites for some years has been Television Without Pity. A friend pointed me to it during the Buffy heydey, and I gleefully read the recaps for each episode, and heartily agreed when they came up with the name Shiny McWhiney for Dawn. There was a strange moment in the last series of Veronica Mars when in the background of an episode a poster advertised an event by a group who's initials were prominently displayed as TWOP, and I did wonder whether there was some referencing loop happening there (and eventually found out that yes, it was done on purpose), but when a character on My Name is Earl actually mentioned the website's forums the other night, ooo I was a happy camper! It was like my little thing got famous, even though it wasn't mine at all. But it did demonstrate the loop between television and internet that has developed of late, and I think it's fun.

So, on that note, I'm off to TWoP to read the latest Survivor recap and hope I don't accidentally find out who won, damn internet and it's spoilers!

p.s. I just discovered that Blogger's spellcheck doesn't allow "internet" (it wants to capitalise the I) but does offer as an alternative "Internets". Really? The Internets? I'm having a Ted Stevens moment (do read the second part of that post, it's a classic)

1 comment:

Fiona Bradley said...

I had occasion to send our library director the Wikipedia page on Stevens' Series of Tubes the other day, and I felt like the geekiest employee evar.

I followed the Stevens' thing though the Daily Show and I really truly did laugh my ass off every time they mentioned it.

Sorry if this turns up like 8 million times.