(8:10 am, after taking attendance) Today, after a week of focusing on our own writing, we’ll begin by turning our attention back to Turkle’s book. We’ve been reading Turkle’s words all semester, but this is a good time to hear her voice, to watch how she expresses herself in person in front of an audience, and to listen attentively. If you have not yet finished the book, keep her voice in your mind as you move to the end.
Turkle has a pretty even and controlled speaking voice, but she does slow down, enunciate, use hand gestures, and speak loudly for emphasis when she speaks: https://www.ted.com/talks/sherry_turkle_alone_together
Before I cue up this 20-minute talk, review this handout of words used to introduce quotations (we’ll also review them together in case you have questions about what any of these words mean): http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/CLAS/Centers/writing/resources/Documents/Resources/Words%20to%20Introduce%20Quotations.pdf.
- How does she represent her own opinion?
- How does she present the ideas of people she interviews? What about people who question or doubt her?
- Throughout the talk, record any bits of language (phrases, sentences) that you hear her emphasize most.
- After you listen, I’ll ask you to choose language from the list to introduce those bits of language and we’ll record them on the board.
HERE’S THE LIST OF QUOTATIONS, WITH EXCELLENT INTRODUCTORY PHRASES, WE DEVELOPED TOGETHER: Introducing quotes with precision and clarity
After the break, we’ll discuss the midterm and we’ll talk about the schedule for the rest of the semester and I will describe how we will extend essay 2 into a well-developed research essay for essay 3.
Question 1: Most people missed the part of the paragraph about the “triumphalist narrative” — what does this mean? What’s the “other story” Turkle is afraid will get lost when we read online?
When thinking of technology, we don’t often think about one important thing; the anxiety given to us by them. Technology has taken away certain “old school” things such as books. People now prefer to go online to read rather than opening up a book and reading from it. It’s thought that reading online is better, but in reality they don’t completely tell you the whole thing. When reading online, there’ll be links or easy access to pages such as Facebook, or other social media in which you can get distracted. There’ll almost never be a link relevant to what you’re reading; therefore the temptation to drop what you’re doing is always there, leading to anxiety. Reading a book however challenges the mind, helps you stay into the work, and helps you better stay on task. With the increase in technological use, books will soon be a thing of the past while things like eBooks or other online book sources will dominate, creating more and more distractions.
Question 2–How did you approach a big question like this?
Advice: List what kind of intimacy is present. Then list what’s lacking or artificial. Or vice versa. Then identify what feelings of connectedness are described in these sections when people are alone? What feelings of solitude can come up when people are connected? Don’t lose sight of the prompt. Keep re-reading it as you write your response (this goes for your papers as well).
In “A beautiful thing”(116) and “temptation”(224) Turkle illustrates stories where humans find intimacy with people who we “imagine as things”(224). The intimacy displayed in “A Beauiful Thing” for example shows Edna, an 82-year-old great grandmother who when presented with a My Real Baby becomes nurturing towards the object. She relates it to one of her children who would say “banky” instead of blanket; Edna according to the researchers who observed her behavior with the My Real Baby conclude that she “gives the impression of wanting to be alone—“together” only with the robot”(116). Turkles claim that “in intimacy, [we find] new solitudes” is exemplified here because Edna’s new connection with the robot baby brought an intimate moment where she would have seem to want to be alone with this robot.
In temptations, Turkles claim of “in solitude, [we find] new intimacies” is exemplified when she tries out “ChatRoulette” for the first time. She noticed also here that we objectify people as things. We judge them by appearance and next them if we don’t like them. I think turkle here displays that when we are alone, ChatRoulette can provide intimacy when we are alone, providing connections when we are missing it.
In the section, A Beautiful Thing, the type of intimacy that is being described is the need to fulfill our craving to have someone/something to care and confide in. By caring and confiding for a robot, the demands are less and there is no judgment. The person feels as though they can do no wrong and can continue to do rote activities with the robot without hearing any complaints. With a human or living thing, there are certain demands and expectations to be met, all at a constant inconsistency. For example, in the context between Edna and Amy, “the young child likes different types of toys, changes her snack preferences even over the course of the visit, and needs to be remembered on her birthday (Alone Together, 119).” It is hard to keep up with important dates, especially an evolving appetite of a child. Despite knowingthat it is inanimate, Edna begins to show attention to the My Real Baby as if it was a living thing, and less attention to Amy. Amy begins to whine and beg for her attention leaving everyone in the room in a feeling of uneasiness. However, for Edna, “My Real Baby gives her confidence that she is in a landscape where she can get things right (Alone Together, 119).”
In Temptation, it is a different kind of intimacy described. In this passage, we get a sense of intimacy through connectivity. “Connectivity becomes a craving; when we receive a text or an e-mail, our nervous system responds by giving us a shot of dopamine (Alone Together, 227).” We turn to computer generated programs for life and lose ourselves in it. There, we can be who we want to be and it is easier to attain our goals online than real life. However, we can still have the best of both worlds by having a separate life online and still function in real life. Websites such as chat roulette or even as simple as constant communication through email and text, it allows us to be by ourselves and still be connected to others. Both passages however lack emotional development in being able to personally socialize with each other. We prefer to be in connection to technology to give us a feeling of fulfillment rather than confide in each other. We lack in acceptance of criticism and flaws.
Both context together exemplify the main claim of “in intimacy, [we find] new solitudes,” and “in solitude, [we find] new intimacies,” because in A Beautiful Thing, although people have the convenience of human interaction with friends and family member, they find themselves to prefer to be with a robot instead. The evolving and constant demands of human and living things are hard to keep up with unlike a robot, you can never be or do wrong. “Jonathan distrusts people; it is easy for him to feel humiliated. Edna is a perfectionist who knows that she can no longer meet her own standards. In both cases, the robot relaxes them and prompts remembrance (Alone Together, 119).” Temptation in my opinion, shows that through being solitude, we find new intimacies. Online activities such as Chatroulette, World of Warcraft and Second Life, allow us to be alone yet still be connected and able to communicate with each other and meet more people due to the convenience of global network. You are able to be who you really are or whoever you want without feeling insecure. “In the flow state, you have clear expectations and attainable goals. You can concentrate on a limited field so that anxiety dissipates and you feel fully present (Alone Together, 226).”
For Wednesday’s class, please respond to this post with a comment of about 200 words that responds to the following prompt in a well-developed paragraph:
Review how Turkle describes the idea of writing letters (rather than emailing or texting) on pages 270 to 271. Then, read the epilogue. Why does Sherry Turkle insist on presenting this book as “a letter”? What does she want her readers to take from the experience of giving and receiving letters and apply to the experiences of daily life? If you were writing a book as a letter, to whom would you address it and why?
Please make sure your paragraph does all of the following:
- quotes from Turkle’s conclusion or epilogue at least once, introducing that quote by using the best possible term from the list we looked at in class (see the top of this post for that list)
- includes an in-text citation in MLA format
- includes a clear topic sentence