Final Projects Info.

Hi all,

For your convenience I am posting the facilitation order and texts that we will be reading for the last two weeks of class below. I will also update this post with specific links to the blog entries created by each group so you can access the necessary videos/texts you should read for each class date.

Also, if you are interested in bumping up your blogging grade, feel free to comment on the blog entries posted by each group! The comments are still due by noon on the day of class.

All the best,

Prof. Tran

Monday, November 30th 

Group: Ashley, Catherine, Kaitlyn, Jillian

  • Topic/Text: Incorporation of science and speculative fiction tropes into contemporary pop music lyrics and videos, e.g. Katy Perry, Lady Gaga.
  • See their post here.

Group: Adrian, Patrick, Dean, John

  • Topic/Text: Bioshock video game
  • See their post here.

Wednesday, December 2nd

Group: Marjorie, David, JP

  • Topic/Text: Pacific Rim, connections to Big Hero 6
  • Check out their post here.

Group: Sara, Caitlyn, Nicole S.

  • Topic/Text: gender norms in the superhero genre; analyzing connections between SNL’s Black Widow trailer and Big Hero 6 and Ms. Marvel.  
  • See their post here.

Monday, December 7th

Group: Vennela, Brandon, Wen-Chiao, Serina

  • Topic/Text: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
  • See their post here.

Group: Matthew, Nicole C. Jennifer, Jimmy

  • Topic/Text: The Avengers, thinking through similarities and differences to Big Hero 6

Wednesday, December 9th

Group: Ben, Siri, Jacob, Justin

  • Love & Radio’s “The Living Room”
  • Access the podcast here.

One thought on “Final Projects Info.

  1. In June of 2013, National Security Agency Edward Snowden leaked confidential documents detailing the scope of domestic surveillance being perpetrated by the United States government. Since then, privacy on and off the internet has been a topic of international conversation. A major problem with domestic surveillance is the voyeuristic nature of how the surveillance was being done. In March of 2015, the podcast Love + Radio released a segment titled The Living Room. The Living Room is the firsthand account of the narrator, Diane Weipert, and her experiences as an accidental voyeur. According to the podcast, Diane never intended to be a voyeur, but a window without a curtain across from her apartment contained too much intrigue to be ignored. Diane almost completely forgot about the lives of her young neighbors across the way, but one day she noticed patterns in their behavior had changed. Through extrapolation, Diane realizes that the young male member of the couple has fallen very ill. Once very lively, this young man took on a skeletal appearance. Additionally, his general level of activity came to a literal stand still. As the young man’s health becomes progressively worse, Diane becomes increasingly involved in the lives of her neighbors. She passes the point of new return when she starts to use a pair of binoculars to see her neighbors in greater detail. For Diane, watching her neighbors was almost like a private reality television program. But unlike reality t.v, none of the dull or mundane moments have been edited out. As Diane watched the young man’s disease reach it’s worst point, she began to feel increasingly involved in the lives of the young couple. This is an exercise in empathy. Unfortunately for Diane, there is no socially acceptable way for her to express her empathy toward this couple.
    Unlike other stories used to frame group facilitation projects, The Living Room is a work of non-fiction. In a class about science and speculative fiction, a work of non-fiction seems out of place. While the outcome of The Living Room was determined by a number of uncontrollable factors, the themes found within its narrative can be applied to works of science and speculative fiction. A short story written by Charles Yu called “Standard Loneliness Package works as a perfect example. “Standard Loneliness Package” is narrated by a call center worker who specializes in the outsourcing of negative experiences in the lives of wealthy Americans. through the nature of his job, the narrator feels painful emotions and unpleasant experiences so his clients don’t have to. “Standard Loneliness Package” and The Living Room are connected by the theme of voyeurism. However, “Standard Loneliness Package” specifically grapples with the concept of forced voyeurism. The narrator doesn’t necessarily want to see and feel the experiences of his clients, but he needs the money from his job to buy a better life for himself. The narrator describes that the particular life he wants to buy is “not top of the line, but a starter model, a good one. Stamdard possibility. Low Volatility. A kindhearted wife with nice hair, 0.35 kids, no actuals, certainties are too expensive, but some potential kids, a solid thirty-five percent chance of having one” (Yu, 15). The scientific/speculative fiction elements in this story allow the narrator to have numeric certainties for aspects of life such as happiness. While it is interesting to think about the possibly of quantifying certainty in what would otherwise be an uncertain situation, Chalres Yu shows his readers that this luxury wouldn’t be without its own shortcomings. The nature of the work lends itself to outsourcing and manipulating a cheap and expendable labor force.
    Diane in The Living Room on the other hand is a much more active in choosing to the a voyeur than the narrator in “Standard Loneliness Package.” Her use of binoculars illustrates the lengths she’ll go to in order to look into the lives of her neighbors. One could argue that Diane’s attachment to her neighbors is similar to how a viewer of a reality tv show might feel toward the show’s characters. Like a television screen, Diane had a clear view into whatever happened to be going on in the lives of her neighbors, but unlike a television screen, Diane had access to all of the in-between moments that one doesn’t have the privilege of seeing on a reality tv show. This is arguably more problematic than not because Diane always has access. Her attachment to her neighbors become detrimental to her quality of life as she constantly worries about them when away from her living room. While one could argue that Diane’s voyeurism is an exercise in human empathy, it is difficult to ignore the overwhelming evidence suggesting she has too much access to the lives of people she doesn’t know.

    Weipert, Diane. “The Living Room.” Love + Radio. Radiotopia, 3 March, 2015. Web. 13
    December, 2015.

    Yu, Charles. “Standard Loneliness Package.” Sorry Please Thank You. New York: Pantheon
    Books, 2012. 3-33. Print.


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