sleeping alone and starting out early

an occasional blog on culture, education, new media, and the social revolution. soon to be moved from http://jennamcwilliams.blogspot.com.

Archive for the ‘snakes’ Category

"…and I think the social morays are going to going to start to move…"

Posted by Jenna McWilliams on July 4, 2009

why we don’t need to worry about eels swimming upstream in response to the text messaging phenomenon

Here’s an interesting article on the trend of teens texting incessantly, starring Sherry Turkle as the Concerned Parental Figure.

The article accompanies a recent interview with Turkle on Public Radio International’s Here and Now.

PRI cites Turkle as saying the warning that the eels will start swimming in a new direction in response to this new trend:

“I talked to a lot of teens who feel that there is no choice because if they don’t have it, people will think there’s something wrong with them, people will think that they don’t want to get back to their friends. And I think the social morays are going to start to move in a direction where you’ll to see some push-back, both from grownups and teenagers.”

Look, nobody’s saying constant attachment to a cellphone is necessarily the most ideal scenario for the emotional development of teens. But, come on, Turkle: eels? Really?

My friend Katie heard Turkle speak a few months ago on exactly this issue. Apparently, Turkle herself has pointed out that traditional theories on and approaches to child development will need to be rethought–that the behaviors that traditional psychology would label abnormal are getting adopted nearly universally. In making this argument, Katie said, Turkle was referring to teens’ practice of constantly holding their cellphones and refusing to put them away. It seems abnormal to us, Turkle said–but we’re the ones who need to adapt. We need new guidelines to account for these new practices, new strategies for considering child development and teen behavior.

I’m not a psychologist, but it does seem to me that the nature of psychology is one of “adaptive rigidity.” Homosexuality is therefore identified as “abnormal” until it becomes socially accepted, at which point the APA guidelines get adjusted. Making social connections online was considered “abnormal” and even, perhaps, an addiction as recently as the early years of this very decade; now, as engagement with social media has become more widespread, we’re rethinking this dictum.

Text messaging as a dominant form of communication seems abnormal to older adults–but that’s because we’re used to a face-to-face world and not a peer-to-peer one. The new behaviors that become possible through new media formats always seem unhealthy to us at first, until we develop the kinds of complex relationships to the platforms that we humans are wont to do.

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Posted in culture, new media, snakes, social media, zombies | 5 Comments »

Actually, "Snakes on a Plane" wasn’t that bad… jk jk jk

Posted by Jenna McWilliams on June 8, 2009

Coming late to the game, I finally watched that Samuel L. Jackson vehicle, Snakes on a Plane, this weekend on cable. It was–turns out the critics were right on this–the worst kind of bad movie: schlocky without wanting to admit it, seemingly unaware of how to spin absurd lines like “we have to put a barrier between us and the snakes.”

Back in 2006, paying ticketholders could at least endure by holding out the hope–indeed, the certainty–that they would get one crystalline moment of Jacksonesque indulgence when they would hear that immortal one-liner uttered by Jackson himself. My version of the line, as viewed through the dubbers of basic cable, was this:

Actually, I think I got the better end of the deal. Pre-release publicity efforts spread the original, unedited version of Jackson’s line across the entire interwebz, and the only uncertainty left for moviegoers was when Jackson would say the line. I got the extra layer of anticipation in wondering–since I knew the language wouldn’t pass cable censors–how they would dub the line, since they certainly couldn’t just edit it out entirely.

The dubbed line was one of two bright spots in what was otherwise a thorough waste of time. We–basic cable subscribers–get the joy of knowing what Jackson really says, even if we hadn’t had access to the pre-release hype. We also get the added layer of pleasure in knowing that the dubbers, knowing we know what Jackson actually says, decided to get a little playful. I expected Jackson to say “motherfreaking” or “motherfragging” or something of that ilk; “monkeyfighting” and “Monday to Friday” were such a surprise that I felt something that may have come close to the kind of joy the filmmakers were hoping for in writing the line–and, indeed, the entire movie–in the first place.

The second bright spot comes just after Samuel L. Jackson has had enough of the monkeyfighting snakes. (I don’t remember the name of the ‘character’ he ostensibly ‘plays’ in this film, and really there’s no point in pretending it’s worth my time to find out.) It turns out the plane is lacking a pilot and the surviving passengers need to find the most qualified person to try to lane the plane.

It also turns out the most qualified person is a young man named Troy, a bodyguard for the rapper 3Gs. As 3Gs points out, Troy has logged thousands of hours of flight time–though admittedly, it was all on a flight simulator program for PlayStation2. It doesn’t matter, though, because by the time this fact is revealed Troy’s already at the controls–and his command of the language of air control is nothing short of pure beauty. See, because it would be one thing if he had only enough competence to manipulate the controls, but his embodiment of the language, the body movements, the mindset of a pilot demonstrates near-mastery. It’s just…so well played.

Here’s the unedited version of the final minutes of the film. If you want to skip ahead to Troy’s landing, it’s at 5:25.

While you’re watching, do NOT question why Samuel L. Jackson thinks it’s a good idea to shoot the windows out of an unsteady airplane. Do NOT question why the flight attendants choose not to strap themselves in before the windows get shot out. And actually, don’t worry too much about why there might be monkeyfighting snakes on a Monday to Friday plane. It really doesn’t matter.

Posted in awesome, creativity, humor, joy, movies, plane crash, Samuel L. Jackson, snakes | 1 Comment »