Tuesday, April 13, 2010

dilemnas of culture

I found Yoon's reading on the role of cell phones on Korean youth interesting and surprising. The first question I had was: how much of the media frenzy over the impact cell phone use is having on Korean youth is true? The first thing that struck me was that it seemed the media in Korea was exaggerating the problem similar to, and even more than, U.S. cable news constantly exaggerates many issues with technology and/or youth. However, what struck me as especially interesting was how Yoon was able to relate this media craze to the cultural crisis, whereas I would argue the motive of cable news here is almost solely for ratings. The conflict that Yoon presented was between modernizing through technology similar to the West, and preserving "traditional cultural values". Thus the "threats" that cell phones posed, such as the weakening of family/community bonds and the danger to literacy, and are publicized by the media act as a "repositioning" of this new technology.

Based on this, I also wonder how Yoon would look at other new technologies, specifically video games. From friends, I have heard that video games are so popular among youth that they are almost glorified. Video game "professionals" can reach rock-star status, and matches are often viewed like sporting events. It is interesting to think that cell phones are given such bad publicity while video games transcend to such a level in culture.

This reading also made me wonder about the role of "repositioning" of technology in American culture. As mentioned, cable TV often presents possible issues with new technology and new media objects. However, these issues do not seem to reach the status that Yoon describes of Korea. Instead, I would suggest that these issues likely arose a while ago in the U.S., and that our culture has been "repositioned" in response. Is this inevitable for Korea as well?

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