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Weiye Loh

Why I Am Teaching a Course Called "Wasting Time on the Internet" - The New Yorker - 0 views

  • The vast amount of the Web’s language is perfect raw material for literature. Disjunctive, compressed, decontextualized, and, most important, cut-and-pastable, it’s easily reassembled into works of art.
  • What they’ve been surreptitiously doing throughout their academic career—patchwriting, cutting-and-pasting, lifting—must now be done in the open, where they are accountable for their decisions. Suddenly, new questions arise: What is it that I’m lifting? And why? What do my choices about what to appropriate tell me about myself? My emotions? My history? My biases and passions? The critiques turn toward formal improvement: Could I have swiped better material? Could my methods in constructing these texts have been better? Not surprisingly, they thrive. What I’ve learned from these years in the classroom is that no matter what we do, we can’t help but express ourselves.
    "Web surfing as a form of self-expression. Every click is indicative of who we are: indicative of our likes, our dislikes, our emotions, our politics, our world view. Of course, marketers have long recognized this, but literature hasn't yet learned to treasure-and exploit-this situation. The idea for this class arose from my frustration with reading endless indictments of the Web for making us dumber. I've been feeling just the opposite. We're reading and writing more than we have in a generation, but we are reading and writing differently-skimming, parsing, grazing, bookmarking, forwarding, retweeting, reblogging, and spamming language-in ways that aren't yet recognized as literary."
Weiye Loh

BBC News - Belle de Jour's history of anonymity - 0 views

  • In the internet age, we have become increasingly concerned about the effects of anonymous online commentary. Anonymous bloggers can have enormous global audiences. "Trolls" can bring criticism straight to the computer screens of the people they disagree with. These trends are solidly in the tradition of literary anonymity - from unsigned political tracts to biting satirical graffiti, we've seen it all before.
  • the effects of anonymity are more important for the anonymous writer than they are for the audience. We'd still be dotty over Jane Austen's books if, like her contemporary audience, we never knew her name.

    The writing has enough authority and detail to carry us along in her inner world. Knowing her name, where she lived, and seeing the piecrust table where she painstakingly wrote out her manuscripts is interesting, but it's trivia. It's not what makes her novels sing.

  • Anonymous is one of our greatest writers.

    "From the medieval period to the modern period there have been authors who have enjoyed playing with and experimenting with anonymity, and it never really goes out of fashion," says Marcy North, author of The Anonymous Renaissance: Cultures of Discretion in Tudor-Stuart England.

    "Anon was, as Virginia Woolf noted in one of her final unpublished essays, "the voice that broke the silence of the forest". Elsewhere she suggested that "Anonymous was a woman". For anonymity has definitely been widely used by women throughout the ages, whether they're writing about relationships, sex or anything else.

    Without Anonymous, there are so many classics we would not have had - Gawain and the Green Knight, virtually all of the Bible and other religious texts.

    Anon is allowed a greater creative freedom than a named writer is, greater political influence than a common man can ever attain, and far more longevity than we would guess.

    Obviously, I'm a great fan of Anon's work, but then, as a formerly anonymous author, I would say that, wouldn't I?"
Allison Frost

China's Orwellian Internet | The Heritage Foundation - 0 views

  • However, for China's 79 million Web surfers-the most educated and prosperous segment of the country's popula­tion-the Internet is now a tool of police surveil­lance and official disinformation.
  • Democratic reform in China is highly unlikely to come from the top down, that is, from the Chi­nese Communist Party. It will have to emerge from the grass roots. If the Internet is to be a medium of that reform, ways will need to be found to counter China's official censorship and manipulation of digital communications. The cultivation of demo­cratic ideals in China therefore requires that the U.S. adopt policies that promote freedom of infor­mation and communication by funding the devel­opment of anti-censorship technologies and restricting the export of Internet censoring and monitoring technologies to police states.[
  • As the central propaganda organs and police agencies maintain and tighten their grips on information flow and private digital communications, the average Chinese citizen now realizes that political speech on the Internet is no longer shrouded in anonymity: Private contacts with like-minded citizens in chat rooms, or even via e-mail text messaging, are not likely to escape police notice.
  • ...5 more annotations...
  • On July 31, 2004, hundreds of villagers of Shiji­ahecun hamlet in rural Henan province demon­strated against local corruption. Provincial police from the capital at Zhengzhou dispatched a large anti-riot unit to the village, which attacked the crowd with rubber bullets, tear gas, and electric prods.[12] Propaganda officials immediately banned media coverage of the incident, and the outside world might not have learned of the clash if an intrepid local "netizen" had not posted news of it on the Internet. The Web correspondent was quickly identified by Chinese cybercops and arrested during a telephone interview with the Voice of America on August 2. While the infor­mant was on the phone with VOA interviewers in Washington, D.C., he was suddenly cut short, and the voice of a relative could be heard in the back­ground shouting that authorities from the Internet office of the Zhengzhou public security bureau (Shi Gonganju Wangluchu) had come to arrest the interviewee. After several seconds of noisy strug­gle, the telephone connection went dead
  • In January 2004, Amnesty International documented 54 cases of individuals arrested for "cyberdissent," but concluded that the 54 cases were probably just "a fraction" of the actual number detained.[
  • In April 2004, The Washington Post described a typical cyberdissidence case involving a group of students who were arrested for participating in an informal discussion forum at Beijing University. It was a chilling report that covered the surveillance, arrest, trial, and conviction of the dissidents and police intimidation of witnesses.

    Yang Zili, the group's coordinator, and other young idealists in his Beijing University circle were influenced by the writings of Vaclav Havel, Friedrich Hayek, and Samuel P. Huntington. Yang questioned the abuses of human rights permitted in the "New China." His popular Web site was monitored by police, and after letting him attract a substantial number of like-minded others, China's cyberpolice swept up the entire group. Relentlessly interrogated, beaten, and pressured to sign confessions implicat­ing each other, the core members nevertheless with­stood the pressure. The case demonstrated that stamping out cyberdissent had become a priority state function. According to the Post, Chinese leader Jiang Zemin considered "the investigation as one of the most important in the nation." In March 2003, the arrestees were each sentenced to prison terms of between eight and ten years-all for exchanging opinions on the Internet.[9]

    Then there is the case of Liu Di, a psychology student at Beijing Normal University who posted Internet essays under the screen name of Stainless Steel Mouse. She is an exception among cyberdis­sidents-after a year behind bars, she is now out of jail. The then 23-year-old Liu was influenced by George Orwell's 1984 and became well known for her satirical writing and musings on dissidents in the former Soviet Union. She defended other cyberdissidents, supported intellectuals arrested for organizing reading groups, attacked Chinese chauvinists, and, in a spoof, called for a new polit­ical party in which anyone could join and every­one could be "chairman." Arrested in November 2002 and held for nearly one year without a trial, she became a cause célèbre for human rights and press freedom groups overseas and apparently gained some notoriety within China as well. Although she had been held without trial and was never formally charged, she was imprisoned in a Beijing jail cell with three criminals. In December 2003, she was released in anticipation of Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to the U.S. Yet nine months after returning to the Beijing apartment that she shares with her grandmother, Liu still finds police secu­rity officers posted at her home. She has found it impossible to find a regular job, and police moni­tors block her screen name Stainless Steel Mouse from Web sites

  • Although President Hu's anti-porn crusade has superficially lofty goals, the nationwide crackdown conveniently tightens state control over the spread of digital information. In fact, more than 90 per­cent of the articles in China's legal regime govern­ing Internet sites is "news and information," and less than 5 percent is "other inappropriate con­tent."[
  • In February 2003, a mysterious virus swept through the southern Chinese province of Guang­dong, decimating the staffs of hospitals and clinics. According to The Washington Post, "there were 900 people sick with SARS [sudden acute respiratory syndrome] in Guangzhou and 45 percent of them were health care professionals." The Chinese media suppressed news of the disease, apparently in the belief that the public would panic, but:

    [News] reached the Chinese public in Guangdong through a short-text message, sent to mobile phones in Guangzhou around noon on Feb. 8. "There is a fatal flu in Guangzhou," it read. This same message was resent 40 million times that day, 41 million times the next day and 45 million times on Feb. 10.[36]

    The SARS epidemic taught the Chinese security services that mobile phone text messages are a powerful weapon against censorship and state control of the media. The Chinese government announced in 2003 new plans to censor text mes­sages distributed by mobile telephone.

    written in 2004, a bit outdated, but gives great background into China's stance on internet censorship and individual accounts of citizens arrested and held (sometimes years without trail) for crimes committed online
Ben M

In The Shallows, Nicholas Carr asks how the Internet is changing minds. - By Michael Ag... - 0 views

    Review of "The Shallows" by Nicholas Carr. Carr explores whether the internet is making us all ADD and killing our ability to think deeply and remember long-term.
Katherine H

pdf of The English literature researcher in the age of the Internet - 2 views

    This article talks about the effects that the Internet is having on English professors and researchers. It mentions the increased research and publishing possibilities, the opportunities provided by email, and the opinions of academics - many of whom were reluctant to accept these new technologies as equal to traditional methods.
    Hopefully the link works - I'm not sure since it's a download of the pdf.
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