Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Do windows cause narcissism? Fri 11AM

This week, Thomas Keenan introduced us to the window. Keenan takes us through many ways to look at a window, and he insists that they cause vulnerability and danger. However, looking into virtual windows and online projects (such as the ones that Professor Chun asked us to look at for tomorrow), I have started to wonder if virtual windows cause not only danger, but also a degree of high narcissism.
The Internet itself causes narcissism to an extent: does anyone actually care what you are doing when you “tweet” your status? Unless you are a high-level celebrity, it is doubtful that a lot of people truly want to know that you are brushing your teeth or doing your homework. However, countless people use the Internet to tell the world what they are doing every second of the day.
The online projects that we looked at today for homework lead me to believe there is a whole new level of narcissism present on the web. People everywhere believe that it is desirable to be watched through the web doing mundane, everyday activities. Just because these virtual windows are present, it does not mean that everyone wants to look in them. I was amazed to read about JenniCam, and the immense vanity that Jennifer Ringley has. She actually put a camera in her room so that people could watch her at any moment. Why is this interesting? I admit, the first thing I did was Google the website after I read the article. Why though? We are only feeding the narcissistic aspect that the web has presented.
I believe that we have created a culture of voyeur and the people in some of those projects are simply feeding off of it. They certainly believe that many people want to watch what they are doing, and to some extent, we do. I ended up watching more than 10 minutes of the “year-long” window into those two men’s lives, waiting for them to do something exciting. They haven’t yet, but I may just tune in again later.
So, in section, I think it would be interesting to talk not only about the danger that windows cause to us but also how virtual windows are changing our identity and our actions to be more narcissistic and vain. Why do we welcome people to stare in at us? Why don’t we just shut the window?

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