Chapter 23

Chapter 23: Dickheads Annotation - Patricia Julian Com 12 - G

The chapter actually explores more on the ideas about the information age rather than moving on with the plot. There are recurring themes such as spirituality, singularity, autonomy, which have been widely discussed in the previous chapter. I will briefly discuss some of these themes before going to my three ideas.

Spirituality can be seen in how Cayce holds on to the idea of a soul, in her referring to “soul-delay”, thus showing its possible innateness in a human being and a possible hope that there is something to look forward to after death. The other theme, singularity is seen in Cayce’s thoughts on how her normal life has changed after 9/11, a totally unexpected event. The other theme, autonomy can also be seen with 9/11 because Americans (including Cayce) who are largely affected by it, have lost control of their security and independence out of fear of terrorist attacks. I believe it can also be seen in Cayce’s conversation with Bigend when she refuses to meet with him immediately because she was having breakfast. Cayce does not want her life controlled even if Bigend insists on meeting her abruptly. She wants more independence. Basically, she wants to have breakfast and meetings when she wants to.

Aside from these themes, I’ve also come up with three other ideas from this chapter.

The first is about marketing. Cayce Pollard, a person versed in marketing, “doubts that there is much else going on” aside from marketing. She also feels guilty for being part of the marketing process just like Magda who lies in order to promote her product. I believe this is related to the recent phenomenon of stealth and undercover marketing, where the customer doesn’t realize that he or she is being marketed to. I believe Magda’s job can be classified under stealth marketing. Stealth marketing has been controversial because it involves lying. I think that the use of lying is indeed unethical, but I believe that companies consider it necessary in order to make a profit. If the company is profitable, it can keep on going, thus preserving the jobs of its employees.

Here's an article on stealth marketing. One of its examples is Sony Ericsson, who used “fake tourists” to start buzz about their new phone. It can be found here.

From this site:


In this chapter, Cayce absently touches the place where the tape should be in her jacket, but realize that it isn’t there. It was: “History erased via substitution of an identical object”. Cayce here shows nostalgia not for a living being, but for a material good. This brings me to the second idea, which is about the increasing sentimentality people now have for their material goods. Today, people are actually looking for something immaterial in the material. They now have a stronger attachment to items such as gadgets, even if they are easily replaced. This is probably due to the memories associated with these objects. In my own personal experience, I found the “death” (notice my use of a word that can only apply to a living being?) of my first ipod depressing, not only because of the mp3 files I lost, but also the happy memories associated it with. In fact, I even tried to make my new ipod similar to it by trying to make the top twenty-five playlist similar to the old one’s, which failed, because I started liking new songs.

Here’s a blog entry about "Wireless Sentimentality".

Another personal experience of mind involves a friend who names her gadgets after her favorite celebrities. It seems strange, but the naming actually adds more value to the gadget, because it has been associated with her celebrity infatuations. Here’s an article about people naming their gadgets. It says that the naming is caused by the loneliness of people who do this. It is thus interesting to note that the loneliness of this people exists in an age where people are supposed to be closer and more connected because of the new technologies.

Some gadgets people tend to get addicted to:

blackberry_8800.jpg 3g-iphone.jpg

Now to the third idea, I attended Boundaries and Belongings, the conference on transnationalism, identity and communications. Professor Daniel Miller, one of the speakers spoke about how technology has not only improved communication, but also relationships between people. Such as in the case of a mother who became closer to her child when she abroad, because they talked more through phone calls (they did not talk much at home). It even allows people to know more about others, because we are becoming more informed about other cultures, like in the case of Trinidadians promoting their country online. Yet, this is not always the case. Improving communication technologies do not always connect people or increase their knowledge about other people. This is obvious in the case of Taki and “Keiko”. Taki actually has been disillusioned that a schoolgirl who he met online named Keiko is interested him. He thinks he knows a lot about her. However Keiko isn’t real. She is just a fabricated personality.

This only shows that even if we live in an age of information and improving communication and technology, we are not really more informed. In fact, in some cases, like Taki’s we are becoming more disillusioned. If it weren’t for the internet, Darryl and Parkaboy would have never gotten the chance to trick him. This can also be seen in Cayce’s sudden wonder on who Parkaboy, the obsessed footagehead theorist really is. “What does he do when he’s not doing this?” she thinks. She’s never met him. Once again, despite living in the information age where there is improved communication, we are still not necessarily more informed about people and other things.

Here's an article on a poll that shows the large amount of people who fake their web personalities.

This is an interesting cartoon related to that.


Samantha R. Chan, COM 12 - A
Chapter23: "Dickheads"




One concept that is emphasized in this chapter is the big idea of CONSUMERISM. Based on the video of “Big Ideas That Changed The World”, consumerism has expanded throughout the world and is considered as the one of the most accomplished “Big Ideas” that has gained preeminence in our society today.

*Consumption as the heart of our modern economy

Economic progress is seen when we are able to consume more goods and products. This represents our ability to obtain the means for consumption. In a way, our being consumers in society goes to show the power that we have in terms of economic growth. When we are not able to consume, we are not contributing to economic growth because we are not part of the transporting cycle of funds. Moreover, in Adam Smith's "The Wealth of Nations", it is mentioned that people's pursuit for luxury would become an economic driver that would make everyone richer. The obsession and search for wealth paved the way for people to develop in their industries and boosted the industrial revolution.

*The more we consume, the better our lives will be.

taken from
*Click on the link to have a closer look.

We now have the perception that if we attain more material things, it will make our lives better or our lives will seem to be better. We live in a materialistic world and though we would not want to admit it, we are all victims of it. Today's society cannot, or refuse to be bored. Living in a fast-paced society makes us think this way. Our culture today can be called a “consumer-culture” in which the television, shopping, and socialization on the Internet, have dominated our daily activities and interests. In a way, we become self-centered beings that depend on technology for our so-called happiness; happiness that makes us feel that we belong. Instead of connecting with other people, we connect more to the television or the computer.

A great example of this would be that most people take so much time, effort and money into updating their electronic gadgets so as to constantly keep up with the latest trends. When asked for what they use these gadgets for, most people would probably say for creating documents, communication, shopping, music, movies and even games. Though the basic functions of why we use these gadgets will remain the same, we still attempt to upgrade them nonetheless.

*Every little act of consumption is linked to a much bigger picture.

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