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In English Społeczeństwo Teoria mediów

Children and Video Games Addiction

The dependence from the Internet begins to be with the same problem as the alcoholism or the drug addiction. Today, over 30 millions of people in the World are dependent from the Internet and this number is still increase. More of them are children spend several hours a day in the computer and play the games. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child defines a child as „every human being below the age of 18 years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier”. If child or teenager have difficulty to live without the computer game or Internet, when instead of to do the class lessons, to do sport whether to speak with parents thinks only about this, as soon as possible to sit down to the computer, if the lack of the access to the computer produces at them the irritation, and sometimes even the aggression, this we deal with the dependence. This need be reflected in many area of social life. Today our children need helps of psychology specialists, teachers, and parents.

When time spent on the computer, playing video games or cruising the Internet reaches a point that it harms a child’s or adult’s family and social relationships, or disrupts school or work life, that person may be caught in a cycle of addiction. Like other addictions, the computer or video game has replaced friends and family as the source of a person’s emotional life. Increasingly, to feel good, the addicted person spends more time playing video games or searching the Internet. Time away from the computer or game causes moodiness or withdrawal.

The symptoms of children video game addiction

The many hours use of the computer game, brings very negative consequences. We have physical and psychological symptoms of Video Game Addiction.

First of all causes the gradual disappearance of family relationship and possibilities of educational influences on the part of parents. It injures to their health, because on one hand means the many hours′ set them on the radiation in the closed room, and on the other hand, makes them the resignation from the movement and active rest of ‘fresh air’.

Following negative result this is that using the computer without the presence of parents subject young men are injurious psychical (the force, the erotica) impulses contracted in many games and computer programs.

The many hours daily spending time before the computer most often means spending mentally and morally computer games or on „surfing” in the Internet, often in search of the pornographic content or other impulses which are especially injurious in this development age. More often than ever before the Internet and the electronic mail, and also cottages and discussion groups become for teenagers a place of contacts with sects, with dealers of drugs whether with pedophilias people.

Prolonged sitting at the computer causes also the fatigue and the remissness of school and household. At last it makes difficulties in the intellectual development, weakens the power of the will and the individuality, and also the moral sensibility and family relationship.

The dependence from the computer appears most often in the form of the dependence from computer games (mostly children) and from the Internet (the young people). The child or the children and teenager deceive parents that in a moment will switch off the computer and will see about with the learning or with other duties. In the reality this „ moment” usually following an hours. I know parents whose son completely cut ‘themselves off ‘from the ‘real world’ and doesn’t want to attend to the school and spend all day by the computer. He sleeps only several hours a day.

Violent video games are so popular because the computer or video game addicted person, a fantasy world on-line or in a game has replaced his or her real world. The virtual reality of the computer or game is more inviting than the everyday world of family, school or work. With the increased access to pornography on the Internet and in games, this fantasy world may be highly sexual.

The addicted children and teenagers are dependent from video games because they are usually under pressure of psychical mechanisms which are analogous to mechanisms occurred in the alcoholic disease or drug addiction. The young people are then more emotionally connected with electronic media. Smartly he is emotionally to use the computer or the Internet, and simultaneously confirmedly deceives himself, deluding himself that he is not yet into the dependence. In such situation one ought to consult with the specialist, because the treat can only make worse the situation. Sometimes parents have nothing else that removes from the flat the television set or the computer.

The addicted children needs help of parents in the conquest of new interests and in the teaching himself of the alternative method to spend their time; reasonable utilization of the time. Prohibitions or orders will not suffice. In the face of negative consequences of the dependence from the computer whether from the Internet, responsible parents should prevent to such situations.

What to do?

To minimalize the threat of the dependence of the child from electronic media, specially video games, children and teenagers needs the suitable example. The dependence does not threaten in these families in which parents do not sit for hours watching the television set or with the computer (computer games), but speak with their children about running events and problems, or assist to children doing their lesson, or surmount common walks.

In the most of families it is proper to introduce definite rules. For example, that children use the television and the computer within daily two hours and that during the common meal the television set is switched off. The “iron-rule” should be the hour after which to children and the teenagers may not to sit down to watch the television set or the computer games.

Reasonable parents should not forbid usages of the computer. They rather teach their own children how to use this device; but they also buy educational games and personally check their content. Many parents buy games which do not help to the child which destroy their psyche.

Most fashionable present games, especially among to the boys, are learning games on the war-strategy  which upsets the system of the moral estimation  (all can be gained only force) and the contact with the reality (heroes can be put to death many times), and besides quickly moving images disorganize the mechanism of the perception of the young man.

Summary

Equally essential is the problem of the use from the Internet where everyone can play games. The young people should have Internet access only under the inspection of parents (at home) and teachers (at school). Internet browsers have possibilities of the usage of protections programs before the opening unsuitable for juvenile pages, but today more often however does not suffice this. Senders injurious mentally or morally contents post this type to pages purely sounding names which escape to protections. An only certain manner of the protection guard of children before inadequate for them contents is the physical presence of parents.

We need to teach children and teenagers the reasonable use of the computer, the Internet and especially most interactive video games. These prevent to addiction in computer sphere. This becomes to be most important educational assignments in the family and the school.

 

(Main Photo: Cathrine / flickr.com / CC BY-NC 2.0)

 

 

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Media Literacy and the LAMP

The idea for my movie began in June, 2009, while attending „Media Conversations VI: an international conference on youth, media, and education” at Fordham University (Lincoln Center) in New York City. There, I was deeply impressed by the LAMP (Learning About Multimedia Project) organization and its commitment to teaching basic media language and media production to youth, parents and educators.

The LAMP was doing what I was looking to do in my studies at Fordham: building a successful bridge between theory and practice. LAMP workshops were designed to help participants learn about the media by doing media. By creating commercials, news, TV/video news, documentaries, and podcasts, participants in LAMP programs learn to understand media language, the ways in which media forms change the content of media messages, and how ever-evolving media technologies impacts every dimension of our private and public lives.

After the conference, I continued to stay in contact with the founders of LAMP and decided to make their organization a key component of my capstone project because the mission and goals of LAMP dovetailed with my own scholarly interests at Fordham. In on-going conversations with Katherine Fry and D.C. Vito, I was given the opportunity to analyze more deeply and systematically a series of questions that have driven and framed my choice of courses at Fordham: How do we teach children to move in a world of electronic media in the labyrinth of mediumistic fictions?; How do we create a media programming that would give a child the competence to deal with our media driven and saturated world?; To what extent do children participate in this media world and what is their level of participation as simultaneous passive and active agents?

This paper is an attempt to review that “intersection” of common interests and how LAMP has offered me a template and model for non-profit work that I would like to continue in my professional work after Fordham.

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Interactive technology has resulted in greater alienation and control by extending labor into all areas of life

Crows – one of the short stories included in the film Dreams (1991) by Akiro Kurosawa – begins with a man in a museum admiring the paintings of Vincent van Gogh. The man appears to be a painter because he is carrying an easel and a bag with brushes and paints. At first, we see him admiring a painting; then, he is able to move out of the museum and step into the painting that has been transformed into a three-dimensional world. Moving through the painting, the man encounters the master himself, Van Gogh (played by actor, Martin Scorsese). Eventually the men move through three-dimensional spaces that are Van Gogh paintings ‘brought to life’. Finally, the men enter the painting, Wheat field with Crows (1890), where the depicted birds in flight actually take flight in the reality of Kurosawa’s dream. Eventually the crows return to their original places on the canvas, and the canvas is seen back on the wall in the museum. The man is awake. He has left behind this virtual world, a world that is very much alive, and reentered the world of reality.[1]

Many people today can relate to the man in the movie. We spend many hours staring into and contemplating technological screens (a different kind of painting) that allow us to access a virtual world that is very much alive, yet different from the ‘real’ world. Like the man in the museum, we access two different spaces through interactive technologies.  Yet this ‘double life’ – especially the virtual world where we spend increasing amounts of time – alienates us more and more from our real lives/selves. Kurosawa’s meditation on the worlds we inhabit prompted me to write about are life in a ‘virtual’ reality created and sustained by interactive technology. Today, interactive technology is a part of our everyday life. I would like to describe the three most popular ‘tools’ allowing people to access and live in virtual worlds:  1.the Internet (website browsing and on-line gaming); 2. E-mail; and 3. Chat-room.

Internet (website browsing and on-line gaming)

A very popular movie in Poland, [email protected]ść w sieci (2005),[2] touched on the enormous problems and challenges encountered in a global network society. The movie invites us to reflect on how the new technology impacts human relations. The question that slowly emerges from the film is the following: Is our present human alienation a consequence of the development of new interactive technologies, or, on the contrary, thanks to these new techniques, are people brought closer together?

Today, the Internet plays a very important part in many people’s lives. Interactive technology offers people vast possibilities to make contact with the world around them. We access much more information than ever before and the access is faster than ever before. Additionally, this new technology makes possible instantaneous, interactive entertainment. We can play on-line games with other gamers from all over the world. New worlds of information and entertainment are open to us, yet, paradoxically, it is this same medium of instant connection which also subordinates and absorbs the time that we could actually be physically present to others. Interactive technology becomes a window to the world for lonely people, for the handicapped, and for individuals who have difficulties with friendships in person, but it also keeps us physically separate, isolated, and hence alienated by chaining us at home to our computers. At the same time that we ‘meet’ others or ‘discover’ a bigger world through web surfing, our solitude deepens when we realize this ‘social’ activity is a private affair.

After the very big success of the computer game, Sim City, where players created their own virtual worlds and their own personal characters controlled by a mouse, it was a time for Second Life. In this game people can create their own profile and ‘travel’ in a virtual on-line world. You can meet with other people, discuss everything with them, shop, look at advertising, or participate in social and political life. Every day, millions of people meet each other in this virtual world. Participants in this world lead a double life: real and virtual.[3] In addition, players can even create a private language that only they can understand. For many players, it represents the only possibility for them to understand and be understood. This has proven especially true for handicapped people and people who have problems communicating with others. This process creates collective minds[4] or a kind of collective intelligence[5] where all kinds of information are gathered and shared. On the one hand, the virtual reality of on-lining gaming introduces new languages to the world; on the other hand, these ‘virtual languages’ are hermetically sealed and function for the communication of a select group. Consequently, they deeply alienate the creators and speakers of that language from others. The same is true in the field of technology, where computer specialists use ‘computer slang’ such as HTML, Java Script, Basic, Logo, C++, etc. Short sentences help members of this community to communicate quickly and easily. But people who don’t understand these languages are segregated from this ‘computer society’.

E-mail

E-mail is a new alternative to the traditional ‘letter’. Thanks to the use of the Internet, letter writing has new possibilities. Messages and their contents which would have seemed silly to send ‘in the mail’ – messages concerning meetings, entertainment, news, invitations to theater and cinema are sent easily via e-mail. Moreover, e-mail messages offer the possibility of sending other contents that could never be sent or contained in traditional letters: brief film and audio clips, and internet links. All of these new ways of communicating help build ties among groups of people or friends.

On the one hand, this communication has advantages. We want to receive information on time in order to keep abreast of current events. We even want to have the pleasure of knowing more than others! Possessing greater knowledge helps us to plan quickly and efficiently, it helps us to react faster, and we take comfort knowing that we will not be surprised by anything less than ‘breaking news’. This greatly reduces the stress associated with a lack of information. On the other hand, the disadvantages of immediate communication may outweigh the advantages.

Personally, I receive over 200 daily e-mails. It is difficult to check and read every one of them because it is a time consuming process. Often, I simply delete many e-mails without having read them and occasionally I delete some important communications by accident. This possibility of deleting important e–mails by accident creates more stress in me than I had ever imagined! Paradoxically, the e-mails that are supposed to be helping me acquire information quickly and efficiently become a source of tension and stress that make my life more difficult.

https://youtu.be/orGM62l1OpM

Similarly, in the workplace too many people are forced to spend more time checking and deleting their junk mail folders than answering the important e-mails that need immediate attention. Sometimes, the computer erroneously tags legitimate correspondence as junk mail thus creating another headache at the office. Worse, the time spent checking e-mail and a junk folder minimizes time colleagues spend communicating with one another at the work place. Here again, instead of making things easier for us, e-mail communication can be a source of irritation and alienation.

Chat-room

A few months ago, I read a prayer in Polish. It was a prayer to the Almighty Webmaster’s God. The prayer began: “Give me the power to log off from the Internet, courage to not check my e-mail; and wisdom to keep me out of the chat room.”

The chat room is another form of Internet interaction. In this medium, we create and find thematic rooms to discuss, receive advice, and find friends, a lover, wife or husband. I even have friends (one from Poland, one from the U.S.A.) who met on-line, started to date, and are now happily married with two children. In chat rooms, many people stop by for a minute to ‘talk’. Talking here is really instant messaging. Although chat-rooms are for everyone, and allow people to ‘talk’, people still remain anonymous in this ‘virtual’ relationship.

Why, I wonder, would someone not speak to a colleague, but speak easily on a forum? I think that anonymity gives people the feeling of safety in communication. People even give themselves permission to say what they would never say to one another in person. In chat-rooms people can ‘talk’ freely and without self-censorship. They are also free to multi-task: they can ‘talk’ while watching movies, listening to music or preparing food. In a chat-room, ‘talking’ frees us from certain social protocols that come into play when people meet face to face. In a chat room, we often don’t even know the people with whom we are having a conversation. Consequently, we can write everything with little or no consequences. The computer simply accepts and sends messages, even the most stupid and vulgar. In real life, this ‘freedom’ would be impossible or at least come with restrictions.

Although we can’t do everything at one time, computers and different forms of internet communication make it possible to work, earn money and stay at home. My friend works in a bank in Chicago. She received a computer from her bank and she now works in her house. While working for the bank at home, she also prepares lunch and dinner for her husband and children, takes care of her children, cleans her house, takes care of her garden, watches TV and listens to music on the radio. She always finds time to help her friends. She remains close to her family ‘at work’. When work time is separated from private life, this would be impossible. Thanks to the virtual world of the internet, the line between work and home space diminishes.

The paradox, however, of this situation is that my friend now loses immediate contact with her employer. She also loses contact with her colleagues at work. She just makes a call and talks with a face-less anonymous person doing his/her job. The relationship between employer and worker built on interpersonal contact acquired in the office is gone. The work is maintained, but at the loss of knowing each other. They communicate about work projects and responsibilities, but there is neither time nor a “real” space to communicate about personal matters. You cannot celebrate the end of a work week with a colleague if you no longer leave the office together.

Incredible changes in interactive technologies in contemporary culture deeply transform our society. It transforms our traditional ways of spending time together, the way we organize our work, and even the ways in which we coordinate and direct our social and work responsibilities. These changes make life ‘faster’ than ever before.[6] Interactive technology has made our world smaller than ever. For many people whose lives are dependent on these interactive technologies, their ‘virtual’ world is more important than the real world that they inhabit. In the same way that a theologian might know about God but never know God, people living in virtual world know about many people while never meeting (knowing) those people. Ironically, people who are so connected and social in this virtual world are more alienated from society in the real world. This is a paradox of the new millennium; the internet allows us to share our lives, passion and work with others even if we don’t know who they are. We share more of ourselves and yet spend less time – maybe no time – in direct human contact with other people. There is a strong sense of alienation that develops when face to face human contact is lost. Nothing replaces eye contact or human touch during conversation. Only time will tell us how deeply these changes will impact our culture and ways of being with one another. The ‘case’ is still open.

[1] Retrieved April 1, 2009, from: https://www.youtube.com/watch v=YQYFhUhOuw0&feature=PlayList&p=E0FB4D4F3B9449F7&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=69
[2] Janusz L. Wisniewski. (2007). Loneliness on the Net, Proszynski i S-ka Press.
[3] For example, in this on-line game, characters pay for their virtual clothing and other items with real money/currency. I once read that one player made significant amounts of real money selling her virtual merchandise.
[4] Tiziana Terranova.(2000). Free Labor: Producing Culture for Digital Economy. Social Text. (63, Vol. 18, No. 2), p. 43-46. Retrieved April 1, 2009, from: https://www.electronicbookreview.com/thread/technocapitalism/voluntary
[5] Henry Jenkins. (2006). Convergence Culture. Where Old And New Media Collide. New York University Press. New York, p. 26-27.
[6] I am referring to Clay Shirky’s book, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing without Organizations (2008), especially Chapter 7, entitled, Faster and Faster. See page 163: “Shared awareness allows otherwise uncoordinated group to begin to work together more quickly and effectively. This kind of social awareness has three levels: when everybody knows something, when everybody knows that everybody knows, and when everybody knows that everybody knows that everybody knows.“

 

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Children and Media Education

“McLuhan heralds the end of print; the Gutenberg galaxy burns itself out. Electric technology can dispense with words, and language can be shunted on the way to universal consciousness… At a certain limit of contemporary vision, language moves towards silence”.[1]

Each day, as many people in this word, I have read newspapers, watch TV, listen radio and search news on Internet. I am still keeping informed about opinion of people in America, Europe, or even Asia, but I don’t know too much about the opinions of peoples in Africa. I really don’t know about unique mass media affected their lives. Mass media are a part of our lives can help us to “break the silence” knowing many places in this word, which we never saw. But the same media can completely destroy our lives, especially family and especially children lives. The dependence from the computer and Internet can provide (lead) complete isolation from the outdoor word, or even resignation from the school, spending this time with the computer games, searching on websites, seeking on pornographic pages. Destructively influents can rally destroy children personality.

Media as a ‘window to the word’ should protect, preserve and progress (formation) present technology evolution. Media literacy, as a part of this technology word, has an in tremendous role to educate the people about media language.

1. Protection

The world of previous generations changed relatively slowly. Today, the culture ‘rotates’ more and more quickly. Every day they appear new ideas, new fashions, new media stars, and new versions of the self identity. For the present young generation Alvin’s Toffler’s ‘Future Shock’[2] simply doesn’t exist. They have incredible skills and habits of adaptation to the incessant changes; fabulous ability to ‘jump’ from one cultural discourse into the second. We can say that we live in, ‘the incessant future. We had

“thirty years to adapt to the new story-telling possibilities of cinema; then twenty years of present-tense television. And then the curve slant upward: five years to acclimate to the VCR and video games; then e-mail, online chats, DVDs, TiVo, the Web – all becoming staples of the pop culture diet in the space of decade. McLuhan had a wonderful term for this accelerating sequence, electric speed”.[3]

Because of this electric speed so many quick changes came in media world. This creates two contrasting views of the “relationship between children and media, both of which have been influential in popular and academic debate.

On the one hand, there is the idea that childhood as we know it is dying or disappearing, and that the media are primarily to blame for this. On the other, there is the idea that the media are now a force of liberation for children – that they are creating a new ‘electronic generation’ that is more open, more democratic, more socially aware than their parents’ generation”.[4] The world of the traditional pedagogic of the teaching by parents and teachers leaves today. Instead of it, the ‘new world rules’ come, embraced the occurrence of the globalization and mass of media.  The media introduced the model of ‘unlimited consumption′. The role of the consumer is now constructed around identity and dreams. The world consumption became, for the young generation, be normal, natural and obligatory. Mass media spreads the conviction, that this is the best ‘style life’ on the worlds.

A basic ideology of the consumption is the pleasure and the joy. The ideology of the pleasure implicates, that the duty of the felicitousness, should be reached by any costs. The running shopping system creates faster life speed and the people live in the continuous ′consumer trouble world′. Paradoxally, this is reputed today as a normal and obligatory for ‘modern people’. However, it leads to many paradoxical occurrences.

Postman, in his book Disappearance of Childhood[5] (1983) argues that:

“our modern conception of childhood was a creation of the print media; and that new media, particularly television, are destroying it. (…) Television is, he argues, a ‘total disclosure medium’: trough television, children are increasingly learning about the ‘secrets’ of adult life – sex, drugs, violence – that would previously have been hidden in the specialized code of print. As a result, they are increasingly coming to behave like adults, and to demand access to adult privileges”.[6]

Especially today, the Internet and the e-mail’s become for teenagers a most dangerous place of contacts with sex, pedophilia, pornography, drugs, and violence.

2. Preservation

Children spend many hours looking at the television, playing computer games, or searching on Internet. This destroy the family ties, create health problems, puts out the children on mentally and moral sickness, makes remissness’s in the school, household and even religious life. The disappearances of family ties are the most dangerous elements of the social life. Children should be educated first by responsible parents, schools, and later by mass media.

Parental Education

A many resources like: books, journals, a radio and TV talk-show supports media literacy. Mass media communication technologies such as cable television, wireless telephones, and the Internet are transforming society: by saturating us with images, words, and sounds, they shape our identity and affect the way when we think about ourselves, our culture, and the communities we live with (or: in?).

From my experience, in 1979, News Program on TV was published at 7:30 to 8:00PM. After News Time (Dziennik News), the Government (usually few times a week) turned out the lights to save energy. I was upset for what they did, because usually at 8:00PM I can watch my lovely American movies. Without energy we can’t watch movies but talked to each other our life stories only. My parent usually talked about their work, friends, books they red or even dreams. We share this information for two hours and went bed. I couldn’t sleep next hours thinking what I heard from my parents. Today I can say that it was very creative time for my memory, mind and arts. Paradoxally, I fell that then I learned most in my ‘silence thinking night’ how to use imagination and creativity in my life without any mass media.

This kind and very similar experience had Thomas de Zangotita. He reminds him his own story:

“I heard stories from my parents about their childhood experiences; more stories, and more elaborately and frequently told, than those I’ve told my kids, who had so much more to attend to than I ever did. After all, when I was a boy and the family went on car trips, I didn’t get to snuggle down in Walkman privacy in order to escape the exquisitely specific tortures of parental companionship – the way they address you so earnestly when it’s family time, the lame attempts at humor, the habitual affectations and maddening intonation. The agony of it. I used to ask for stories, just to get away from them. The thing about stories being that, when they told them, they weren’t addressing me directly; they would get lost is the telling, musing on their lives – much more comfortable all around. Looking back, I now realize that the stories they told could have happened anytime, that the focus was always on the people events, never on atmosphere, style, cultural texture. There was no period feeling.”[7]

Neil Postman described this as a passage from The Age of Exposition to the Age of Show Business[8]. In the place of imagination and creativity, mass media entered very close relationship to ‘be ready to buy’. Because children have buying power, companies use media to reach children at an early age. Company brands, for example, try to establish relations with children at a young age in order to create a “life-long” loyal customer. Again, media literacy provides us with the tools to expose the media strategies deployed by corporations to reach out to children.

McDonald’s restaurants, for example, provide a good example of this exploitive relationship. McDonalds spends millions of dollars to entice children with their products. Moreover, the company wants to build a relationship with the child that fosters customer loyalty. But there is no oversight concerning the nutritional value of the product being. McDonald’s wants a “frequent” customer; the company is less interested in the impact the food has on the child over long periods of time. Issues about early onset diabetes and childhood obesity are ignored as the child’s hunger and tastes are being exploited. Children are being consumed as they consume junk food and finally they are sick or even die. For example:

“In January of 1993, doctors at hospital in Seattle, Washington, noticed that an unusual number of children were being admitted with bloody diarrhea. Some were suffering from hemolytic uremic syndrome, a previously rare disorder that causes kidney damage. (…) Health officials soon traced the outbreak of food poisoning to undercooked hamburgers served at local Jack in the Box restaurants. (…) Lauren Beth Rudolph (…) was admitted to the hospital on Christmas Eve, suffering terrible pain, had three heart attacks, and died in her mother’s arms on December 28, 1992. She was six years old. (…) In 1982 dozens of children were sickened by contaminated hamburgers sold at McDonald’s restaurants in Oregon and Michigan.”[9]

Internet is more powerful today. This lead “targeted at children aged 3-12 and billed as the prototype ‘next generation interactive channel for kids’, da Vinci Time and Space was described as a virtual world populated witch characters whose ongoing stories are intertwined with entertaining as well as unique forms of interactive advertising”.[10] This situation leads parents to the point, where frustration, loss, and disappointment are still present. Parents want for their own children the best. They try to create the best home environment with no stress, no hindrances, to survive free time of childhood. They usually try to protect their children against all bad experiences. Finally, they satisfy their need and whims, often with the cost of many utterances. They don’t want make their children worse than other. The attitude of parents, even their own goodwill, can bring inverse effects to their original intention. Education can’t stop only to the protect children against the bad experience, bad world and buying material needs. Children grow the best during playing games and sincere talking. Even the child have everything, the role of educator is taking by television or computer.

Finally the relations between children and their parents are lost. Children start to be egoistic and pretentious. At this kind of experience, even school can’t help the children; even they present many projects to help understand the role of media in the present time.

School Education

When media permeated to the American culture as a messages and images, many educators head forward to the media literacy. Many of them believed that is only way to educate young people about the role of media playing in their lives.

It is two ways to promote Media Literacy by educators. First one is to play down the effects of media and promote only the media benefits. Second one is help youth become critical as media consumers to make informed as a part of active participant in society and global scale. The new mass media technolog:

“opens up some possibilities. Parents, teachers, and programmers are the foundations on which possibilities can be built. In school the technology can also play a role in reexamining what to teach and how to teach it”.[11]

Media Education can be more theoretical than practical. The Salzburg Academy on Media and Global Change (https://www.salzburg.umd.edu) provides courses where students from many different countries work together and share their cultural differences. Many media literacy courses emphasize how audiences can detect media’s manipulation. Not to be cynical in media literacy reflection we need to ask: 1. what do media do?; 2. how can they do it better?; why are media essential?; and 4. how can you be responsible? Consequently, this reflection prepares students to become good consumers and good citizens. To use literacy skills to advantage students need to learn how to identify, monitor and understand how media work. That will be helpful to defend, promote and motivate them in a media – dominated word.

Media Education can be in the same ways more practical than theoretical. For example, The LAMP group (Learning About Multimedia Project, ) realize their program in Brooklyn, New York. Their ideas, creativity and conception are realized by the children doing media production. Practicing nonprofessional production is a way the kids try to understand the idea of media language and literacy. The LAMP is not for profit organization and teaches the basic media production language for children and young generation people. The LAMP (https://www.thelampnyc.org/) improves children skills and understanding how media work more practical than rather theoretical.

In my opinion the best method of learning is to combine the theory with the practice. Based on the practical and theoretical experience we can get the best benefits learning theory making action. I am following Edgar Dale’s Cone of Experience, even people against speculation[12], that people

“remember: 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we see, 50% of what we see and hear, 70% of what we discuss with others, 80% of what we personally experience, 95% or what we teach others.”[13]

We can argue about percentage, but telling about number we need to remember that

“media not operate in a vacuum; they are implicated in the geographies, histories, politics and economics of cultural production. To politicize media education is to acknowledge its potential for autocratic repression and democratic liberation. As such, locating media education within the framework of citizenship lends in the potential for emancipation”.[14]

Not only personal skills, but also cultural consideration, generation attitude and also well-known facts can help teachers and pedagogies. Complicated massage will not help to engage and participate in the didactic activity. Today the quantity to remember the information is smaller than decades ago, because we have media, for example Internet, which possess unlimited knowledge, no any boundaries. People don’t remember information because they have Internet where they can check all information what they need. Since the

“world is not neatly divided up into disciplines, teachers need all the technological help that they can get to soften calcified subject matter boundaries. A mix of media is bound to play a more important role in the discovery of big ideas that link different areas of knowledge. Clearly, technology can land a hand in helping teachers reach across disciplines with interdisciplinary themes. To paraphrase Jane Austen, when unquestioned vanity goes to work on a weak mind is produces every kind of mischief. If our faith in technology becomes a powerful ideology, we miss the point”.[15]

This is why we need Media Education.

Media Education

Electronic Media is big part of our social life. Today,

“children grow up interacting with electronic media as much as they do interacting with print or people. (…) New information and communication technologies can be used to help students understand complex issues, solve problems creativity, and apply these solutions to real life situation. Engaging, yes, but it takes effort and planning to make it meaningful. Having a solid educational agenda is more important than having the greatest technology; but once the education piece in place, it is time to figure out exactly how technology can help you”.[16]

Media education stays mostly today as a domain of the pedagogic. Media Education usually not follows with novelties and quick technological changes. Jean Baudrillard, social theorist and critic, in his book Simulacra and Simulation, writes about effaced border between the real world and presented pictures by mass media. Today people really don’t know what a truth is, and what the illusion. They have asked what is real exists and what is not. People have not time to search, penetrate and look for important information. The real stories leak to us among our fingers, because it is too much. People in aged XVIII and XIX received less information. Today we receive during several months more, than they did during their all life.

Media Literacy is as some kind of the social and scholar movement to express certain kind of the “mutiny” and consciousness of receivers. Media Education and Media Literacy is not a revolution in media world. It is rather the “call alarm” in reflection and understanding the language operated by the present mass media and reality in which we live today.

How to critically evaluate these all media messages to understand them, and also be able to effectively create our own messages? To create good massage people need to be educated in this media area. Formation is one of the basic elements.

3. Progress and Media Formation  

The media literacy, education and formation are priority today. It is necessary, in the sphere of the infinite creation, how to transfer the thought to each other. This is difficult task, which mass media should help and learned about the new challenge forms in the media word. This would have by the formation of human consciences, because “children and teenagers must learn how to decode the subtle and not-so-subtle massages contained in television programming, advertising, movies, and music videos”.[17]

The education and the formation in the sphere of the mass communication have an important meaning for the present as and futures social life. Social and cultural sphere is concerning about freedoms, and consequently on the responsibility. A basic main assignment to educate people to the critical reception of media is the creation of the “active public”. This “active public” can be responsible for them and for another people, be in the critical distance against media proposition. For example, people “as parents educate themselves and their children about the dangers on-line, they should make sure they give equal time to the benefits”.[18] The efficient formation should take place on three levels: consumer, user and professional level.

The Consumer Level

Consumer is a person who absorbs a number of information every day. On this level most important to teach how children, students, parents, and teachers should be critical viewer who watch programs, newspapers, radio-show, conference, or meetings. This formation enters first of all to learn the tongue which is used by presented media. This language is simple, constructed by the man and for the man, but the language which can be dangerous when it used as a form of the manipulation. This proper understanding of the message gets basic assignment in the formation of the man – the consumer. This formation should be accessible for all level of receivers. People in this level should participate in the lectures, meetings, discussions, special rates, and symposia.

The User Level

User is a person who shows, describes, teaches, and delivers methods how to use the media resources in all levels of life. This level moulds the skill of the utilization of media resources in definite cells; for example: during leaderships of the lesson or the lecture. Today usually every presentation is supported by computer, projector or media presentation, for example by Power Point.

The Professional Level

Professionals are the people who usually are specialists in mass media. They know what they are doing; they know how to do it, and this is usually their profession work. The formation level should concentrate to perceive their responsibility in the society. They have duty to spread the information to serve to the truth. They should try to respect the facts and critical borders of judgment in relation to the persons. They should not resort to the slander and not manipulate the people.

It is necessary to create the internal structures and rules of the conduct. We need deontological codes and laws roles which regulate mechanisms of the influence on the man, represented by specialized persons in the sphere of the ethics, and also representatives of associations of consumers.

Summary

The world is constantly bombardment by messages from television, cell phones, video games, computers, music and advertising. This “background media noise” creates today lifestyle. Media education is an important part of being educated member of modern society.

Our grandparents learned more in the silence. The silence was, it is and will be an inseparable element of the men development. Where the noise, the screams and the troubles are is not any learning about you. Mass Media, even they exist in noisy and scream world, should join „the idea of the silence”. Only the silence is a place where people can produce beautiful and valuable things necessary to the development of the humanity. Media Literacy and Media Education obligated every generation, nation, levels of education to be a part of media world as a people of better hope. Only educated people in media can help to develop better society in all continents in this world. Without this hope we ruin our life to involvement in depth.

Marshall McLuhan described this phenomenon:

“The electric light escapes attention as a communication medium jest because it has no “content”. And this makes it an invaluable instance of how people fail to study media at all. For it is not till the electric light is used to spell out some brand name that it is notice as a medium. Then it is not the light but the “content” (or what is really another medium) that is noticed. The message of the electric light is like the message of electric power in industry, totally radical, pervasive, and decentralized. For electric light and power are separate from their uses, yet they eliminate time and space factors in human association exactly as a radio, telegraph, telephone, and TV, creating involvement in depth”.[19]

Media education and media literacy can help us to be more literate person in media world. Media language is a part of social life. People need to know how to read, listen and create this language to be more skeptical, critical and analytical but never cynical. Language should be easy, and as William Shakespeare’s said at his composition Hamlet: “the rest is a silence” and time for work and creativity.

——————————-

[1] Hassan, Ihab, Metaphors of Silence. Frontiers of Literary Criticism, ed. David H. Malone (Los Angeles: Hennessey and Ingalls, 1974), pp. 35-52.
[2] Alvin Toffler. Future Shock. Bantam Books. New York. (1990).
[3] Steven Johnson, Everything Bad is Good For You. How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smaller. Riverhead Books. New York. (2006). p. 175
[4] David Buckingham. Media Education. Literacy, learning and Contemporary Culture. Polity Press. (2003). p. 19.
[5] Neil Postman, The Disappearance of Childhood, Vintage Books. New York. (1982).
[6] David Buckingham. Media Education. Literacy, learning and Contemporary Culture. Polity Press. (2003). p. 19.
[7] Thomas de Zangotita, Mediated. How the Media shapes your world and the way you live in it. Bloomsbury Press. New York. 2005. pp. 33-34.
[8] Neil Postman. Amusing Ourselves to Death. Public discourse in the Age of Show Business. Penguin Book. London. 2005. p. 63.
[9] Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation. The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. Perennial Press. 2002, pp. 198-199.
[10] Kathryn C. Montgomery, Generation Digital. Politics, Commerce, and Childhood in the Age of the Internet. The MIT Press. Cambridge Massachusetts. (2009). p. 25.
[11] Dennis Adams, Marry Hamm, Media and Literacy, Learning in an Electronic Age – Issues, Ideas, and Teaching Strategies, Charles C. Thomas Publisher LTD., Springfield, Illinois, USA. (2000). p. 198.
[12] Retrieved June 16, 2009 at: https://www.willatworklearning.com/2006/05/people_remember.html
[13] Edgar Dale (1969). Audio-visual methods in teaching. New York: Dryden. p. 107
[14] Divina Frau-Meigs, Jordi Torrent. Mapping Media Education Policies in the World: Visions, Programmers and Challenges. AoC, UNESCO, European Commission, Grupo Comunicar. (2009). p. 236.
[15] Dennis Adams, Marry Hamm, Media and Literacy, Learning in an Electronic Age – Issues, Ideas, and Teaching Strategies, Charles C. Thomas Publisher LTD., Springfield, Illinois, USA. (2000). p. 196.
[16] Dennis Adams, Marry Hamm, Media and Literacy, Learning in an Electronic Age – Issues, Ideas, and Teaching Strategies, Charles C. Thomas Publisher LTD., Springfield, Illinois, USA. (2000). p. 198.
[17] Victor C. Strasburger, Barbara J. Wilson, Amy B. Jordan. Children, Adolescents, and the Media. SAGE Press. Los Angeles. (2009), p. 310.
[18] Kimberly S. Young. Caught in the Net. How to Recognize the Signs of Internet Addiction and a Winning Strategy for Recovery. John Wiley&Sons, INC. Press. Toronto. (1998). p. 166
[19] Marshall McLuhan. (1994). Understanding Media. The Extension of Man. The MIT Press. Cambridge, Massachusetts, p. 9.

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What a Wonderful World: First Mission to Alamo

People’s eyes watched the big screens showing the latest information about the coming trip to Alamo. New York had transformed. It was not the same city it was 100 years ago. People had been changed by the relentless production of bombs, guns and other military accessories. War was everywhere in the Galaxy. The Defense System in New York worked 24/7. Cannons were oriented to all possible directions through the sky. People knew that aliens could descend fast, very fast, unannounced in a swift descent from above. This is why people had taken to building their homes in black and silver oval bunkers. They were created from layers of new material named Animatron.

October 24, 2112, 8:00 A.M.

This story begins on a warm, sunny and humid morning.

New Moon Station was prepared for the new mission. A few years ago, Satellite Explorer SAT-E-13, discovered planet FDH-AM-5969, abbreviated into Alamo. Now was the moment to explore the new land of Alamo. This project absorbed the monstrous sum of $144 billion. The mission was prepared by the most technologically advanced scientists, specially selected for this mission. They used new biotechnology computers to preplan this important mission. Since Congress decided to green light this project, the Earth, named now “Old Planet”, had become a simple dock for loading and unloading huge barges. They melted an enormous quantity of carbon, ores and iron. Manned space flights became a thing of the past. The new pilots are robots now. A newly discovered material called Animatron was produced as an alternative energy source. It was not too costly to transform it into a form useable as fuel. Thanks to Animatron, space travel became fast and cheap. One pound of Animatron had cut down the cost by a factor of seven. It was universally known on the “Old Planet”.

October 24, 2112, 9:00 A.M.

This morning, Nana Olbrich, known better as Captain Olbrich, was expecting to receive a new order. She was from the 3rd Fighters Squadron nr 303, nicknamed Alpha Group Team. Her office was on the USS Intrepid Aircraft Carrier. At the moment, Nana was lying down and looking out the big window in her small cabin. She was proud of her position in the General Department of Defense (GDD). However, this day was her day off. She was listening music. Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World was her favorite today. She started to sing it loudly along with Armstrong –

I see skies of blue, and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces, of people going by
I see friends shaking hands, saying “how do you do?”
They’re really saying “I love you.”

Lying on her bed and singing this early morning, her black hair framed her face like a dark wave against the military color of her khaki pillow. Army regulations which determined so much of her life even determined the colors of her room. Without this rules her small cabin would be in the same color.

October 24, 2112, 10:00 A.M.

Finally Nana got up. She took a refreshing, soothing bath and ate quickly her tasty croissant. As usually, it was a chocolate croissant – her favorite. This was her standard breakfast ever since she became captain and had her choice. Depending on her humor, she would occasionally have a coconut croissant – or a strawberry one. Whatever the flavor, the croissant was delivered by robots directly to her kitchen. Everything in her room was arranged exactly as she remembered it from her childhood. Her father, a retired marine, would be proud of her. Nana got today her new orders today. They still glow on the pulsating small flat screen on her night stand. Nana had been feeling that this week would be a special one. She received a promotion and now her fears grow with every minute. She was afraid that her new duties would overwhelm her. The last time she felt like this was when she was a little girl. Her grandfather Emil saved her life pulling her out of 20 yards of an air-shaft. It had taken him over 16 hours.

The massage on the Nana’s cell phone screen was simple:

  • See you at the “GDD” at 11:45 A.M. They chose you to go to the mission on Alamo. Alex.”

October 24, 2112, 11:30 A.M.

Nana ran out quickly out of her military cabin and began her walk down the corridor to the elevator. On the walls were located LCD screens showing life outside on the surface. Nana – viewing from the comfort of life inside the station – was always very impressed watching thousands of workers building her base. Small cameras, situated outside the base, showed the vast work being done in the impossibly dangerous heat. The workers looked like the soldier in their metallic dark-green helmets with metallic silver-uniforms protecting them from radiation. They were ready for every sacrifice to build the most advanced technological base in the world. Some of them rushed from place to place on the seemingly endless work site. Everything looks perfect arranged and planned – like in a hierarchical ants′ community of tireless workers. Suddenly elevator arrived. The doors opened and Nana realized that she was late. She had almost forgotten that her meeting started at 11:45 A.M. in the General Department of Defense.

October 24, 2112, 11:55 A.M.

Nana looked at her watch. She was almost 10 minutes late. She rapidly slipped into the elevator. The door closed silently and almost immediately reopened. At the elevator exit door her adjunct was waiting for her. “Only a routine exchange,” Nana thought, “A leftover from a previous age!”

  • Good morning, Captain Olbrich. How are you?” Sergeant Don Wright asked.

  • Good. Very good. Thank you for asking! And you?” Nana answered.

  • Thank you very much. I am good, very good…” Sergeant Don automatically repeated.

Nana entered the meeting room. On the commander’s desk laid the latest map of Alamo. Nana went to the centre of the room. She stood there and looked very tense. General John O’Keefe approached Nana and asked her the question:

  • What happened? You look very nervous,” General O’Keefe asked.

  • I have a strange premonition that if we do not sent a suitable fleet to support Alamo, the expedition will not succeed,” Nana answered slowly.

  • You know that suitable plans already are undertaken,” General O’Keefe said strongly and directly.

  • We are not ready to go there. You know it! We will lose our people!” Nana stated with a great deal of self-possession.

  • You know that those decisions are not mine! I just follow instructions! Do you want to go there or not?” Captain John asked, his voice getting louder.

  • Yes, I do, but… not now. We are not ready!” Nana tried to say this clearly.

  • If you’re scared, we can choose someone else! This is not professional behavior, Nana! The President is expecting success!” He knew immediate he said too much. His rising blood pressure reddened his face.

  • Ok. I understand Captain. Still, we don’t know enough about this place. That’s all… Can I go now, General?!?” Nana saluted him and expected to go.

Nana looked at him few seconds. His face was like marble with no any emotion. He looks like a programmed machine. Nana bent her head lightly as a sign that she has nothing more to say.

  • Yes. You can go!” General O’Keefe said. He knew that – ready or not – this mission had to go.

Nana left the National Air Force & Royal Council Room and disappeared in the shadows of the dark corridor.

  • Good bye, Sergeant Wright.” Nana tried to smile to cover her emotion.

  • Good bye, Captain Olbrich.” Sergeant Don said quietly.

Discipline in the army was of the utmost importance. The rules were very clear: subordinates can talk to superiors only as a slave would with his master. One had to ignore one’s own ambitions and ideas. The procedure was clear from elaborate discussions in previous decades in Military Association Forces (MSA). The same was true with Air Force which cultivated the best traditions of the past epochs.

October 24, 2112, 3:00 P.M.

When Nana entered the hangar, she saw her co-pilot, Harold Wright. He was one of the best pilots in the Air Force. When he saw Nana, he noticed immediately her anger and hurriedly enters the cockpit of the plane. When Nana put on her light weight vacuum-pressure suit, Harold flipped on all the indicators on the control panel. He was waiting for her decision to turn the engine of the space ship on. Harold was very experienced pilot. How could he not be? Flying was a family tradition. His family members included Orville Wright and his brother Wilbur Wright, creators of the first human flying machine ever in December 17, 1903. They would have been proud of their descendant. He spent over 50 thousands hours in the air and this mission would be his last one this year. His body was sending him signals that it was time to take some vacation.

  • Are you OK?” Nana asked.

  • I am, but what about you? You look nervous. Do I need to know what happened?” Harold asked directly.

  • No, no, nothing. Take my word,” Nana lied to him. Her unnatural smile gave her away.

  • Let’s do it!” He said to encourage her.

  • Yes, let’s do it!” Nana repeated.

  • We are ready to take off – flight number TH-316-36. The Alpha Group Team is ready,” Harold said to the control tower.

  • Start the procedure! We are ready too!” they heard from the control tower.

  • I am starting the procedure,” Harold replied.

  • Harold?” Nana suddenly asked.

  • Yes?” Harold answered.

  • First, we need to take a side trip to the planet Mars. We need pick up a new computer for our ship. Sorry I didn’t tell you before, but it’s important for our mission. It’s was top secret until today. The computer will help at Alamo,” Nana explained.

  • I understand, Nana. It’s no any problem with me. I understand that from Mars, we will take a direct route to Alamo and we will continue our prime mission?” Harold looks very humble and understanding.

  • Yes. Of course. We will.” Nana smiled.

October 24, 2112, 6:00 P.M.

The base on Mars was very small. It was more reminiscent of an inky-capped mushroom than what it was – the technologically advanced Modern Institute of Computers and Technology (MICT). It bore little resemblance to the big base at Militaris Noctiluca on the Moon. It was a small base – similar to a base located in Antarctica over hundred years ago.

  • I don’t know, but I don’t like this place…” Nana said to Harold.

  • What’s not to like?” Harold asked with surprise.

  • I don’t know, but this place is telling me right up front – this is not a nice place…” Nana tried to formulate her thoughts past her intuition.

  • I understand what you mean. For me it is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live here.” Harold smiled.

  • Still, I think we will be safe here. This place is boring.” Nana said with a shrug.

  • Do you remember a rock song named We Gotta Get out of This Place written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil? The song was recorded in 1965 and was a hit single for The Animals.”

  • No, I don’t. What is it about?” Nana asked.

  • It was iconic song, especially popular with United States Armed Forces during the Vietnam War,” Harold smiled.

  • I understand what you’re trying to say,” Nana started to smile too.

  • Yes. We will sing this song after we finish mission on Mars.” Harold felt proud of himself for remembering a song over 150 years old.

Sandstorms and lack of atmosphere make Mars an unfriendly, inhospitable place to visit. Still, the fourth planet from the sun always fascinated people. Now, for over 50 years, people have been extracting iron oxide from the planet. The name of the planet came from the Roman god of war – Mars. Thanks to its color – a rusty red – people associated this place with the conflagrations of war. Mars is half as large as the Old Planet. The temperature oscillated between 68 °F during the day and -211 °F at night.

Ships docked at a station that looked similar to a huge aircraft carrier cut out of hard rock by laser or and specially made huge diamond-saws. The airfield was carved from the hardest rock found in that region. Someone said that even if the planet were destroyed, the airfield would survive and drift into space. Nothing could damage this place – not even the powerful explosion of a nuclear bomb. On one hand, this gave to the pilots a feeling of stability and safety. On the other hand, many pilots knowing the hardness of the surface took special care with their landings. They didn’t want to kill themselves and find their names on the local hall of fame.

  • This base was built over 30 years ago and looks very modern,” Nana said to make conversation.

  • We lost many people building this base,” Harold said sadly.

  • Yes, I know. My father’s brother died here during first mission to this planet. I don’t remember what happened, but I read an article about it,” Nana said contemplatively.

  • Let’s make this a very short stop here and get out of here,” Harold suggested.

  • Yes, I agree.” Nana answered.

When Nana and Harold carefully landed on the quiet Martian surface, their thoughts were exactly the same: “This planet will never be home to them.” It was in their minds at exactly the same moment. And, as soon as they had that thought, “mother nature” responded directly to their unspoken thought. Very powerful winds shook their ship.

  • Nana, be careful!” shouted Harold. “Our spaceship is adrift!” he said, grabbing at the arms of his chair.

  • I am trying my best!” Nana said to him calmly, but deeply aware that something was seriously wrong.

  • Try to turn on the emergency system,” Harold recommended.

  • OK. Let’s do it.” Nana hit the emergency red button on the left side of the panel. A few seconds later, the spaceship righted itself back to a stable horizontal position and landed safely.

  • Oops! So close.” Harold wiped his brow.

  • What was that wind?” Nana asked with surprise in her voice.

They almost clipped the hanger with the wing of their ship. Without Harold’s efficient maneuver they could have destroyed their spaceship. A few second later, they felt a very powerful wind coming at them fast filled with red sand, like something out of Dante’s hell. It hit the Animatron hangar. Sand filled all the cracks.

Once inside, one of the operators waved them in by hand. They knew that this was not the standard-procedure, but, given the storm, they didn’t stop to question the gesture. They had a mysterious sense about the storm – that it was not caused by nature or man, some powerful force beyond both. Suddenly the ground started to shake. Both pilots could barely remain on their feet. Powerful nuclear explosion appeared at the same moment on all the LCD screens.

  • What the hell was that?” Harold shouted.

  • I don’t know. Let’s check…” Nana said.

  • Do you see anything on your screen?” Harold asked.

  • No, I don’t…. Wait a minute… Look on you right. Do you see a spaceship on the right?” Nana asked.

  • Where?” Harold asked anxiously.

  • Near the small outcropping of rock…” Nana pointed toward a space ship.

  • It’s Zorks! What they are doing here?” Harold asked.

  • I don’t know, but we need to hurry up.” Nana said last sentence very nervously. She knew that Zorks are dangerous and they can destroy this planet and their mission to Alamo.

Nobody knows why Zorks attacked Mars. Only one thing was sure. As everybody knew, Zorks were fascinated by human culture and human technology. Maybe they found out that Mars now housed the fastest known computer.

Zorks looked like a Tolkienesque leprechauns. They were humanoid in form. Their official language sounded like a mixture of English, French and Spanish. This was a left over from the days of the third European Union migration. What was the most interesting about the Zorks was their ability to perfectly adapt their own organism to any new place they encountered. Their skin was chameleon-like, only way beyond a chameleon in its extraordinary possibilities of adaptation.

October 24, 2112, 7:00 P.M.

At the same time, Nana and Harold went to the shelter which was located 32 levels underground. 10 panicked technicians crowded together in the lift which exceeded the permissible weight limit. In spite of that, Harold and Nana entered the elevator too. They were so close to each other. Harold suddenly caught Nana’s hand and lightly kissed her mouth. She was surprised but she didn’t resist. However, when one of technicians looked in her direction, she lightly inclined her head with shame. On her cheek appeared a hint of a blush. She shook her hair over her face cover her embarrassment. Harold raked aside her hair, looked at her full in the face and joyfully smiled at her. The elevator stopped.

  • Ladies first,” said Harold, showing the way out from the elevator.

  • Thank you, my gentleman.” Nana said and started to laugh. Everything that had just happened was unexpected. But both of them were quite clearly very happy and ready to take a new step in their relationship.

Nana quickly cooled down from her amatory exultations and ran to the dispatcher′s office. In the center of the room, among many devices, was a small metal case with a computer. She had not expected this computer to be like this. She remembered other powerful computers being double or triple the size of this one. However, this one was very small. Atto NYC-2112 Computer upset her expectations. She quickly applied her finger to the papillary reader and inscribed the 32 digit set of numbers. She was waiting for the next step – a voice sample and a retinal scan.

On the LCD screen there suddenly appeared the inscription:

  • The level of your stress is 32%. Do you really want to open this case?” in display letters.

  • Yes, goddammit!” Nana shouted.

A nice, quiet feminine robotic voice answered immediately:

  • Voice approved. Welcome Captain Nana Olbrich,” was the computer’s first voice message.

  • Welcome… Welcome…” Nana tried to cover her happiness. She closed the case and rose.

  • We need to go to our spaceship Harold… Quickly!!! We don’t have much time!” Nana looked into his eyes.

  • Nana, I can go everywhere with you,” Harold poked fun on her.

  • Harold. I am serious now! We need to go!” Nana hit his head lightly.

  • I know. Zorks… Let’s go…” Harold said seriously.

Harold and Nana started to run for their space ship. They needed to return the same way they came to get there, hoping the elevator was not yet occupied by Zorks. Happily, it wasn’t!

Once they entered the spaceship, Nana installed Atto NYC-2112 Computer and said goodbye silently to the crew on Mars. Nana and Harold tried once again to leave for their prime mission to Alamo, now aided by the huge power the new computer offered. The new operation system, Windows 7X7, offered much more than Windows 7 from 2009. The New Omega Five processor was 4bln faster than any computer ever built.

Nanas sent a signal to the New Moon Station:

  • “S.O.S. Attack on Mars! Over! Help is needed! Over!” Nana starts to repeat this sentence twice.
  • “Received! I am sending help! Over! How many enemies? Over,” said the automated voice of the MASNG-10, the computer on New Moon Station.
  • “I really don’t know! We saw only the nuclear explosion! Over!” Nana said.
  • “We have sent a pilotless ship to check the place of attack! What is the status of our crew on Mars? Over!” MASNG-10 said.
  • “All healthy! They are hiding in the bunker underground! Over!” Nana knew the full crew could spend over a year there without any help. Food, water and air were located in the storage compartments for just this kind of emergency.
  • “Thank you for your information! We will take over now. Over!” Said the voice of MASNG-10 without any hint of emotion.
  • “OK. Thank you! We are continuing our mission to Alamo! Over!” Nana felt her that body starts to relax.
  • “Good luck!” MASNG-10 said.

October 24, 2112, 8:00 P.M.

Nana turned on the engines. The small spacecraft moved into orbit like an arrow shot from a bow. It was incredible how quickly people could break into deep space now. Harold remembered archival video recordings several centuries ago when the launch of heavy space shuttles were viewed by big crowds of gaping spectators. That was when people could barely believe such events were possible. Now there was nothing surprising about such a mission except how much money the government was willing to spend on such things. On their dark helmet screens were suddenly reflected thousands of stars. Their helmets looked like the Christmas trees trimmed with brilliant lights.

  • I see skies of blue, and clouds of white. The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night. And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.” Nana was reminded again of the Louie Armstrong song and she started to sing.

  • Do you like that song?” Harold asked.

  • Yes. I do. It’s my favorite,” Nana answered.

  • I love that song too.” Harold agreed.

Both of them sat on their ergonomic functional air-cushioned armchairs.

October 24, 2112, 8:45 P.M.

Nana entered safety standard code 405 immediately on the communication channel. This was a 16 number code and this made her happy because usually the procedure demanded 32 different characters. While she entered the code, Harold reviewed thousands of pieces of data appearing on small screens in his part of the cockpit. Everything looked OK to him.

After six hours of flying, suddenly on the right side of the LCD screen appeared a small blue sign – an indication of magnetic disturbance or meteorites. Harold informed Nana, knowing that Nana was a very experienced pilot. In fact, she had already noticed the signal. He then waited silently for her response and direction. His communications monitor analyzed feedback from New Moon Station.

October 25, 2112, 3:00 A.M.

Suddenly on the small screen both Nana and Harold received a message. At first, it was simply a sign demanding attention. ATTENTION! A few minutes later it was replaced by large flickering inscription: ALERT! Even with all his hours in the air, Harold had never seen something like this. He was surprised when Nana accepted the message with silent calm. Their spaceship lightly adjusted to the heat coming at them from outside. Harold noticed that Nana raised her left hand to touch the left side of her helmet. He knew that Nana was turning on the small LCD screen inside her helmet which provided some instruction.

  • It is unusual! What is going on?” Nana questioned.

  • I agree. I don’t know what it is. Any ideas?” Harold looked very surprised.

  • What is your proposal?” Nana asked.

  • I think we should stay here. Don’t go too close to Alamo. We should stay here.” Harold said loudly.

  • Yes! You are right. My thoughts are the same.” Nana agreed.

Nana had never experienced anything similar to this. She immediately entered the autopilot instruction plan. She did this in total silence. Suddenly –shockingly – something happened that Nana expected to see. All of the airship’s screens turned themselves off. Only small emergency lights remained lighting the control panel. Unfortunately, all the readouts on the control panel disappeared in a fraction of a second. Harold shouted into his helmet’s built-in microphone.

  • Nana, what the hell happened?” Harold shouted.

  • I don’t know. This is some kind of blackout scenario. I don’t like it! I don’t want to play in this farce.”

  • I will check the engine panel!” Harold stood up and ran to the panel.

  • I will check the power panel!” Nana ran to the opposite side of the corridor. “What the hell is going on?”

Nana tried to control her thoughts while pushing every button she could get her hands on. Nothing responded. The ship started to pivot to the left and swing around on its own. At this moment the engine turned itself on again. The spaceship went back to its previous course, making the necessary course corrections. Nana and Harold tried to breathe and relax.

  • Thanks to God! That was dangerous!” Harold said. “What did you do?”

  • Me? Nothing… I don’t know…” Nana was shocked. “Let’s get back to the cabin and check on what is going on?” She started her quick walk back.

October 25, 2112, 4:00 A.M.

Happily, everything on the LCD screens looked perfect. Nana started to be more relaxed – until, on the horizon, appeared an unwelcome set of visitors. Huge meteorites, in a very slow motion, came closer to their spacecraft.

  • Power full!” Nana shouted. “We need to turn the ship 180 degrees!” We have 30 seconds to do it!!!” Nana started to sweat.

  • Yes, commander!” Harold answered, pushing two buttons on the left side of the panel. The space ship started turning around very fast.

Beside them passed huge pieces of meteorites. Suddenly something flashed and a big “boom” shook their spaceship. Nana and Harold instinctively turned their heads to see. Their eyes saw a view that no aerospace soldier would want to see. In the air was the wreck of Spaceship Beta – a ship they had seen at New Moon Station. In that space ship was Nana’s very close friend, Captain Alexander O’Neill…

Nana, with her voice hoarse with suppressed emotion, announced to Harold:

  • Go back to the base. Now!” Saying this, Nana started to cry.

  • Yes, of course,” Harold answered.

Harold’s emergency fallback position was to say nothing. He knew enough to know that the best rule right now was “Don’t say a word!” Harold knew how much Nana loved Alex.

October 25, 2112, 4:15 A.M.

During their trip back, Nana realized that she had know Captain Alexander O’Neill for over 15 years. Their families were very close to each other. Alex helped her to become a pilot. They grew up together in Chicago, the place where they were born. She remembered a very friendly dinner with Alex in Szalas, a classic home-style restaurant on South Side of Chicago, an “embassy” of Polish traditional cuisine. Nana remembered Alex was so funny singing and telling jokes with Polish people. Eating specialties like pierogi, golabki, zapiekanki, and kielbasa. Nana and Alex drank a lot that evening – especially a famous Polish beer – Zywiec beer – which had become a symbol of home for many Poles – served with „oscypek„, a special cheese made exclusively in Poland. Szalas catch their hearts with its unique decorations, remarkable wooden plates and spacious interior. Highlighting the dining room was a working water wheel creating the feeling of an old mill house with a large, cozy, romantic fireplace. Nana remembered that night very well. She smiled as she remembered one of the warmest, most enjoyable, funny nights of her life.

Nana turned the radio on to end the terrible silence in her heart. The same station she was listening to this morning played the same Louis Armstrong song:

I see skies of blue, and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

Nana covered her face in her hands.

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces, of people going by
I see friends shaking hands, saying “how do you do?”
They’re really saying “I love you.”

Nana started to cry. She cried very intensely with raging currents of tears flowing down her cheeks onto the wilted collar of her shirt. She was absolutely devastated inside. Nana sobbed as if she were a small child, lost in a new city. From the distance she heard from the radio:

I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more, than I’ll never know
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself, what a wonderful world.

October 25, 2112, 11:00 A.M.

When they return to the Mother Base, General John O’Keefe saluted her. This was a sign of respect and homage to the Alpha Group Team. General John O’Keefe knew how close Nana was to Alex. He had helped her to go to Alamo

Harold never talked with Nana about the events of that day. He knew that this was the most terrible day in her life.

The report about what happened was unique: “The hardware failed, not the man.” The tremendous crystals installed on the spaceship, minimizing space and time, allowing communication across vast, empty space, had failed. Nobody expected that the same frequency used at Alamo and Beta Group Team would be the exact frequency generated by the big meteorite. The bodies of the dead, highly experienced pilots were never found.

Since what happened on the trip to Alamo, a hundred expeditions have been flown. New deposits of ore were discovered and used to replace the more dangerous Animatron – the source of the destructive frequencies generated by the ships. Nana never found peace of mind after that day. She was not the same anymore. Something broke in her heart. She remembered Alexander. Photos on her desk reminded her of Alex. Each pictured showed the two of them smiling and laughing. She never forgot Alex, that brave man who taught her that the most important thing was looking positively to the future. Alex’s death taught her that people must enjoy every meeting and appreciate time with their friends.

Alex’ motto life was simple: “Don’t dwell too much on the past and don’t dwell too much on the future. Enjoy every day, hour, minute, second in your life now.” Nana remembered Alex words: „The lure of the stars should never override the basic need of people – and yet they call us to cross borders which we cannot even imagine. Alexander O’Neill, the Captain Commander Pilot at Alpha Group Team.” This text was published on his own blog on June 20, 2112 at 2:15 A.M, three month before his death. Nana thoughts about this sentence and thought, “Vita brevis ars longa (The life is short, the art lasts long.”)

January 19, 2113.

Captain Nana Olbrich left the Air Force Squadron in NYC, premature gray hair starting to show around her temples. She started her new life. Nana and Harold, her “first officer now”, married three month after Alex’s death. She took Alex advice seriously with hope and happiness. In her room you can see Alex pictures and short prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

New Moon Station is still at war with the Zorks. And human history still continues…

THE END

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Fotografia In English Społeczeństwo Teoria mediów

Photography of Real Life

The major interest of my life has always been finding truth about the present language of media, man, environment, culture, and new technology. Several memories from my life are the real history which shaped my manner of the vision of this world.

In Poland, in the years 1965-1990 you couldn’t get your telephone line installed in one day. My parents waited for their own telephone line for 25 years. During this time they paid every monthly payment to receive the massage: “not this year, but maybe next one we will allow you to participate in the progress technology. You are on the list #255.345”. At the beginning we took this massage very seriously, but after a few years, with all respect we just smiled and joked about it.

In the year 1980, I was then 9 years old and my father bought our first camera. It was so small that you would not feel ashamed giving it as a gift to James Bond. My dad also did not believe that man could construct so small a device which would make a normal photo. Then he untwisted the device, wanting to find out how it was created, fascinated with new technical possibilities of man’s thinking. But when he tried to put all the small parts together again, it was not possible. This was the first and last day, when were happy with our family camera…

In the year 1990, at my college I was a part of one of the computer classes in Poland. The first computer, ZX Spectrum charmed me with LOGO, a new technological language that we learned in a lab. My dream was to have my own computer. I was so impressed, and I waited for my first computer over two years. Not that we did not have enough money to buy it, but because one could not get one. All computers were at that time delivered to instructors, teachers, and prominent people; or to persons who had connections. My first computer was produced by Timex, made in Portugal. I remember this day until today very well. Six years later, I constructed a PC computer from parts, just what I always wanted. I bought the motherboard, CPU, memory, hard drive, graphics card, case and monitor. In the store, I was shocked to see my first computer, the Timex, secured with a nail to the wall as a decoration. Then, at this moment of my life, I understood how quickly transformation comes: electronics, information, speed, computers, radio, television and internet. The experience of seeing my beloved computer used only for decoration opened my eyes to this reality about change.

The history of the last 25 years changed the manner of communication among people. Those memories affect me and move me to write some reflections about what I observe in the “media world”. I agree with what Neil Postman says about how the printing press, telegraph, photography, broadcasting and television change our language, thought, image, creativity, technology, imagination, and finally reality. Resulting in what we have today.

I would like to devote some time to the device which I think revolutionized our manner of seeing this world. I am a photographer, taking on my own over 80,000 photo pictures which I have on my hard drive. They remind me of scenes from my life: people, places, events, time. From these photos I can recognize these important seconds of my life recorded with my camera.

Language

A decisive moment in the mass communication was “the Gutenberg printing press”. Today however, pressing the shutter of the camera to make a commemorative photo, not many people reflect on the history of the device which began the change of our manner of the perception of this world. This evolution changed our vision of reality to a sequentional vision.

Time and space stopped existing in a cyclical understanding. People stopped time in order to value, the dynamic of the “split second”, the unrepeatable moment. They could at last “catch” the moment, which until now irrevocably passed with time. Because of the camera we have achieved what we always dreamed about. People could at last return “tangibly” to what was already passed, that is to say they could participate in the past. They proved consequently, that our lives at this moment, these fractions of seconds, which in the commonplaceness of time can pass as imperceptible, can (thanks to the camera) be “tangibly perceptible”. Later came into being the idea of the creation of the film projector. These devices revolutionized communication between people. It changed the language which people used. I agree with Neil Postman about the mass media language, that “a picture is worth a thousand words. Maybe so. But it is probably equally true that one word is worth a thousand pictures, at least sometimes – for example, when it comes to understanding the world we live in.”[1] In today’s media language the word was exchanged for images. The imagination, that is to say the composition of the mind of the man, replaced the word with an image which speaks what and how man thinks. In other way the image is supported by word and image has a much more power.

There are two results of this new way of seeing. The first is passiveness in the reception of information which on one hand releases the viewer from the personal thinking. The second result prompts creativity. Television impels man not to creative life, but rather to “the commenting” on the reality in which the image was found. Such is the work of today’s media.

One year ago I met with a friend of mine to invite him to write some articles for a magazine in Krakow (Poland) for which I usually I write. He sad to me: “I was not born to describe or create, but to give only a commentary.” Passive distance from reality is one of the most important mistakes made by real people in today’s media culture.

Thought

The camera, as one of these media which are improved and perfected all the time with scientific research in optics, mechanics, physics, also helped with aesthetics and art. And the artistry still has its own highs and lows. Every time however attempt to free this world of „the cage of the frame”. The new electronic medium always restricted, restricts and will restrict the perspective. The manner and the visual angle determines in what people participate, with what they will live. Media by their own nature will never show to us the state of the reality which we want to describe and represent. The medium itself lies. It does not tell the whole truth. Media devices, and this includes the camera are not only transmitters of the information which people send, but also distorters of the information. This information is modified by the medium itself. Consequently, the information is subject to the imperfect form. Still, this information – modified by the medium – reaches us, shapes our consciences, looking at the reality and the world, wherein we live.

It is necessary to make allowance for the difference between content and form, at every use of the medium. Life can exist without media but media can’t exist without life. Moving in the real world, events “from behind the frame” often have the most important meaning. Because of them we make decisions. And because media are only transmitters of what we want to present, no medium will ever be in a position to give back en bloc the reality in which we participate. The lens itself restricts the field of vision. This limits human recognition, and, in turn, limits thoughts, conditioned with images through media. The image limits education to a small component of what is seen and thus does not give a complete view of realities in which we now participate.

Image

The image, captured from reality for the present, will always be on the past, the situation which already happened, has already take place, is already behind us. Even if the image were only a second before, that second is already the past. The camera always will represent and show us only the past but, since it represents the past as present, the image is always imperfect. Neil Postman said something similar, that:

“Pictures, especially single pictures, speak only in particularities. Their vocabulary is limited to concrete representation. Unlike words and sentences, a picture does not present to us an idea or concept about the word, except as we use language itself to convert the image to idea. By itself, a picture cannot deal with the unseen, the remote, the internal, and the abstract. It does not speak of ‘men’, only of a ‘man’; not of ‘tree, only of a tree. You cannot produce an image of “nature”, any more than an image of ‘the sea’. You can only show a particular fragment of the here-and-now – a cliff of certain terrain, in a certain condition of light; a wave at a moment in time, from a particular point of view. And just as ‘nature’ and ‘the sea’ cannot be photographed, such larger abstraction as truth, honor, love, and falsehood cannot be talked about in the lexicon of individual pictures.”[2]

This is true and I agree with Postman. If we reflect what the rudiments of the photograph are we see that photography is… the image. Painters in numerous attempts (more or less successful) capture for the receiver on the canvas, what they saw. They wanted to express on wooden frames the reality which they saw, experienced, and recognized. With the brush they “drew the state of their own soul” which moved with their inspiration, showed their reality which included much that was for many invisible, and outright inaccessible. They opened the door to dark elements in looking into what happened around them. In images they showed castles, battles, and more. Most importantly however they always showed… man, whom in his own pride was shown as “the creator of this world”.

Creativity

Artists-painters made a great contribution to the idea, a wish to create a device which would be able “to stop the world on the moment”. They made this however less rather than more consciously. Only philosophy and the positivistic ideology and independent scientific (English and French) explorers contributed to the beginning of this medium. From the moment of the photographs first appearance in the world, in the year 1839, began simultaneously exist two trends (two theories) of the hermeneutics of the photograph.

First, in compliance with the attitude of the positivistic philosophy, the mimetic proprieties of the photograph, add values to the pictures. The more it shows the truth about the nature of the world. The value of the photograph is not ruled by the composition of the photo (in this model composition is secondary), but rather by the function of recognition. Only the truth contained in the photograph makes the structure and aesthetic form of value.

The second trend of the hermeneutics of the photograph harkens back to the idea of the image as being a determent place within the canons of fine arts. Every picture is obliged to conform to standard rules and canons, such as: composition, perspective, chiaroscuro, elements which defined painters of previous epochs. Until today, this trend has many advocates, because more and greater technical possibilities which approach perfection in their ability “fix and to deliver” perceived reality.

Thereby comes into being the question: whether the photograph creates the reality, or whether reality creates the photograph. If to this dilemma we add such notions as: the choice of the theme of the photograph, the chance of the event wherein the photo was made, and we will include in this the sub conscious of the photographer, then the process of the creation of the photograph extends its own meaning. There open new horizons and possibilities. The exploration of predispositions creative and cognitive of the photographer opens new understanding of the forms of the expression.

Neil Postman wrote about how we express ourselves. It is three cases of truth-telling: 1. speaking, 2. writing and printing, and 3. spoken writing shows that culture moved from ‘orality to writing to painting to televising’. This process changed human communication system, thinking and existing life. Present time is dominated by television who created culture based by information, ideas and epistemology.[3]

Unfortunately, extensive use of the camera by many people has the unfortunate tendency of belittling of the element of creation and artistry in the completed photo. Today, the low cost of photography and the ease of it makes us unreflective. This automatic nature does not often spur reflection, does not encourage creativity. Ready availability sometimes leads to popular rubbish. The creative element of the photo plays with light, angle of the camera, saturation of colors, shadows. Automation of such elements may oust such creative elements from consciousness of the photographer leaving only archive photos, thus losing originality and aesthetic values. The art of photography often involves waiting indefinitely, with nimble fingers, a creative mind and a heart soaked through with the beauty and the intuition of the moment. Along with these elements, it also requires skills, predispositions, experience, familiarity of the possibility of the equipment which with one works, as well as the long practice of the teaching oneself with errors and success.

Painter’s pictures as well as photographs give back the reality of the moment of the past, that is to say the moment of the moment. This consequence of creativity in the process I would call: “reflection on the picture”. The painting and the photograph are both descriptive forms. They follow the same principles and they both require the same creativity.

Technology

The photographer, both on the level of the technological and the artistic is visual, and the result represents a subconscious endeavor of the photographer in the recognition of the truth of the moment. Every medium is by nature imperfect in the remittance of the information, and here the extraction of the truth from the photo always will be an arrangement of puzzles of an infinite quantity of elements, new combinations, and consequently new possibilities.

Given greater technological possibilities, the photograph has huge abilities both cognitive and interpretative, far and beyond that of painting. Photography is in so advanced a state that it can penetrate into the smallest humans elements (for example the cell phone), but also can show the largest in the universe, in still undiscovered space (the landing of the man on the Moon). The universality of the penetration into what is least and greatest in this world fascinates today’s huge crowds of people, thirsty for knowledge of their place on earth. It is a race of time with technology for the photograph not to disfigure the human person, but outright to show the beauty of the place and the situation in which it is found.

Imagination

We live in the world dominated by pictures which today more quickly and more efficiently affect our imagination. Words wasted their power. Because of our use of image, words have become devoid of dignities, meanings and reliabilities. The picture more quickly brings us near to the entire truth which we want to deliver and to take. Words can not give us the image in its totality. The visualization of the truth, especially in the event of the photograph, gains on the veracity of things just as they are: the photograph, triumphs over the truth expressed by words.

The photograph stopped time, permitting insight into the past. The reflection over the fraction of reality that has been photographed permits us to question: whether the photograph shows to us only the past, or also the present. The created photo is taken in the category of time, which has two faces, first, the photo is always a description of this what is past, while the thematic truth of the content of the photo reveals (or can reveal) current truth as it is seen in the present by a viewer. This means the photo will always give this feeling of the present day. The photograph can so unite both functions. The past becomes a continuing present.

Reality

The exploration of the truth in painting is inseparably connected with the person by whom the image was created. There are many signs in a painting that represent this truth: the signature of the author, the voice of the picture, his original composition and the coloring. This is not the case for the photograph. In the event of photography the effect is more like a documentary. The name of the author of the photo, the creator of the composition is for us secondary. The interest for us lies in the face as pictured, the event as captured, the location of the taking of the photo, the time and the place. From here the photograph – rather than the artist’s signature – attests to its own reliability. Perhaps this is unique to photography as an in compliance with the earlier theory that each medium has its own nature as well as own limitations as a picture of the real truth. Business is a big part of this world. Neil Postman sad: “the new imagery, with photography at its forefront, did not merely function as a supplement to language but tended to replace it as our dominant means for constructing, understanding, and testing reality. By the end of the nineteenth century, advertisers and newspapermen had discovered that a picture was worth not only a thousand words, but, in terms of sales, many thousand of dollars.”[4]  Media is a business and always will be.

Summary

My parent waited for their own telephone line for 25 years. Today, we can get our telephone line installed in 25 minutes in any store we want. Time is going faster. Every mass media participate in present language, thought, image, creativity, technology, imagination, and create present reality. I would like to understand language of media (audio and video), and its effect on the formation of man in the language of modern communications; a language that will come near to the reality in which we live today. Studies can help me to understand the new language and thinking of the present media culture. Photography, Broadcasting and Television and Internet make up the reality in which I grew up. This reality makes it necessary to engage in serious reflection about everyday life.

———————————-

[1] Postman, N., Powers S. (1992). How to Watch TV News. Penguin Groups, London, p. 104.
[2] Postman, N., Powers S. (1992). How to Watch TV News. Penguin Groups, London, p. 105.
[3] Postman N. (2005). Amusing Ourselves to Death, Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business, London. pp.18-23. 20th Anniversary Edition. (1985).
[4] Postman N. (1993), Technopoly, The Surrender of Culture of Technology. New York, p. 68.

 

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