Ok. I’ll bite. Someone has to go first. I admit, I blog in my head instinctively, as I ruminate, pontificate and reflect on my life’s events. It’s as if Marshall McLuhan was reaching out to the likes of me and handing me this technology to dump my brain contents. This theory stuff is stirring up a lot inside and it seems as I read it, yelling at the author for what seems deliberately obtuse writing, the only way I can make sense of it is to find the connection to my own existence. My own blog, fiveyearnapper, was created to document my re-entry back into the work world after taking some time off to be a mother, post corporate existence as a vice president of communications; it’s a diary of my crisis of identity, so to speak. So when we were discussing symbolic interactionism last week, about how we adjust ourselves according to the role we are playing in life, and who are audience is, I could relate. I put on a very different face, or persona, when I am parent, wife, teacher, friend and now, student. I behave, speak and even dress differently depending if I am communicating with my kids’ teacher, my kids, other parents (subdivided by school-parents or hockey-parents), my students, my boss, and yes, even my husband, even though I proclaim to be an authentic human being.
But lately I’ve been feeling a conflict of values: see, I value time over money. But with my added student-role, I’m busier now than I ever have been. Even as a single executive, I still had spare time. With work, school and family, the time that I am giving up to make it all work is time with my kids. I am missing out on the “phenomenological experience of otherness”, that “authentic human relations” (Craig, R., 1999, p. 133). At least the theory is helping me see what I need to feel complete. And to see that parenting is aligned to the sociopsychological tradition of communications: I find myself in situations “requiring manipulation of causes of behaviour to achieve specified outcomes” (Craig, R., 1999, p. 133). Whatever it takes to get the homework done, or the laundry basket emptied, or guitar practiced .
Ironically, the cause of behaviour is usually the iPad or some sort of electronically-mesmerizing device, and for that we can turn to Marshall McLuhan. He’s is everywhere. When he said, “the medium is the massage,” (Babe, 2000, p. 76) I thought it was a typo. But then he went on to describe that technology is really just an extension of the human body and I realized he was eerily right. One day a couple of months ago, I was driving down Bloor Street with my son in the back seat, at about 4 p.m. I asked him to count all of the people who were carrying, looking at, or talking on phones, and it was almost every single person. I was listening to the radio yesterday and it declared that the average undergrad spends eight to 10 hours looking at their smart phone — a day! The interviews spoke of “addiction” and “gives me something to do with my hands.”
Yes, theories are everywhere. Reading about the ‘posts’, this week, I asked my artist-husband to rhyme off post modern visual artists: Andy Warhol being one. Or Marcel Duchamp, who showcased a urinal as ‘art’. And seeing that “postmodernism rejects the view that science can be spoken in a singular universal voice” (Agger, B. 1991, p. 121), I turn to my insightful seven-year old for inspiration and clarity: he’s a post modern ‘sevenist’ who believes that just about anything he says is right. He’s a master at rhetoric. Yet, he invented the ‘blow hug,’ which for us is a semiotic reference for affection.
Agger, Ben. (1991) Critical Theory, Postmoderism, Poststructuralism: Their Sociological Relevance. New York. pp 105-131. Retrieved from http://moodle233.msvu.ca/m23/pluginfile.php/156942/mod_resource/content/2/BenAggerCriticalTheoryPoststructPostMod.pdf
Babe, R.E. (2000) Chapter 1 – Introduction. In Canadian communication thought: Ten foundational writers. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. pp. 3 – 38. Retrieved from http://moodle233.msvu.ca/m23/course/view.php?id=3449
Craig, R.T. (1999). Communication as a Field. Communication Theory, 9:2, p 135-136. Retrieved from http://moodle233.msvu.ca/m23/pluginfile.php/147163/mod_resource/content/1/Craig%207%20Traditions%20article.pdf