The new couch potato


Like last weeks readings, I found that the first was more difficult than the second reading. I thought a lot of Silverstone’s sentences were overly long and at times it was  hard to keep up with the point he was trying to make. Michael’s work were easier as the examples he gives to illustrate his points were simpler to follow. Any tips on how to improve on the reading  is welcome.

There’s a few concepts that Silverstone pointed out which were really intriguing to learn for the first time.

The idea that the Domestication today involves the shift of ‘mediated centrifugal culture’ towards a ‘mediated centripetal was most interesting because it is something I have real connection to. By posting this blog entry, I become an active participant in ‘public performance’ in the public space of the world-wide web. Also over the years, my main sources of news and information has also changed from television and newspaper to the internet. Silverstone points out that this shift blurs the boundary between public and the private. I believe this to be true as through our willingness to reveal personal information online, privacy on the internet has become a luxury.

Another interesting concept was the Actor Network Theory (ANT), the interaction between technology and human forming a single network in which one can not operate without another. Silverstone describes this reliance as both technology and body as a ‘equivalent.’ I was quite surprised this term did not come up in the second reading, as I thought this description also fit for the couch potato’s relationship with the remote control.  The remote can be seen as the couch potato’s equivalent, as when the couch potato loses his control, as Michael puts it is ‘temporarily disaggregating’ (despite the fact the couch potato could get up and change the channel) the search for the remote begins, the Television remains ‘unusable’.

I found the second article on the couch potato interesting, although a little dated in today’s mediated society. I feel that the popular 90’s term ‘couch potato’ could be replaced by (or evolved to?)  the more frightening internet addict. ‘The Desk potato’ is mentioned as Michael points this out as “expanding the domain of the couch potato”. The same concepts would still apply, the mouse and keyboard has the fits the bill of the remote control. I feel that the internet addict still illustrate  the idea of disembodiment; sitting behind a similar screen, the movements of fingers to create clicks and key taps, slowly but surely replacing the bodily action of stepping outside the home, to shop, talking to people face to face, typing instead of writing. The various discourses in regards to ‘Couch potato is bad’ is also applicable to the internet addict.


2 Responses to “The new couch potato”

  1. durispoon Says:

    However we do sometimes enjoy the “disembodiment”. Is it really a bad thing to enjoy the new technology? enjoy being a couch potato or desk potato?

    It reminds me of a Disney movie “wall-e”. People get used to the latest technology & what they become after generations is a big fat human sitting on a high tech remote controlled…sofa. & they dont even see each other face to face or familiar with the environment or neighborhood the have been living for life.

  2. sleung17 Says:

    I agree with what durispoon has said. We do somewhat enjoy ‘disembodiment’ but on the contrary it can be bad. We are restricting ourselves pretty much on our social life relying heavily on technology as a means of seeking the outside world – for instance Facebook, msn and the internet to chat when we can simply go out. Maybe in a way although technology provides positive benefits – it probably in turn helps defeat our purpose of living more ‘humanly’?

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