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Call Out the Instigators …

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Call out the instigators
Because there’s something in the air
We’ve got to get together sooner or later
Because the revolution’s here, and you know it’s right
And you know that it’s right

— “Something in the Air”    (Thunderclap Newman)

“Something in the Air” is one of my all-time favorite songs, a one-hit wonder of titanic proportions, right up there with “Scene Beyond Dreams” (The Call) and “In a Big Country” (Big Country). I love the sense of the apocalyptic … it captures a moment in time in the late 1960s when everything seemed to be a spearpoint in history. Vietnam, the Civil Rights Movement, the landing on the moon, the assassinations, the riots, the end of the hippie era and the beginning of something unknowable, but inbued with infinite promise.

My musically VERY aware son Van has many times lamented that he wasn’t born at such an exciting era (the old Irish cautionary phrase, “May you be cursed to be born in interesting times” notwithstanding). I generally nod knowingly, sigh dramatically, and pat him on his young head. (This is where in a perfect world I’d take a long draw on my pipe and say something wise, except I don’t smoke and usually all I can think of during these teaching moments is an old limerick.)

Since I’ve been teaching the Introduction of Mass Communications JOU/FDM 1303, however, I’ve come to a very different understanding. Nearly ever week I have to update nearly every lecture. Stuff is happening at an extraordinary clip right now.

Something is in the air RIGHT NOW. It’s called technology. The digital, dig-able planet. Lots of good stuff. Lots of bad stuff. But mostly lots and lots of NEW stuff.  Like it or loathe it, fight it or ignore it, surrender to it and good gently into that good night or rage, rage against the dying of the light. It don’t matter. We’re on the crest of the wave.

I want to be one of the instigators. I want identify the good stuff, learn the good stuff, and incorporate it not just in my classes and my professional life but in my daily life. For years, I’ve resisted it (I don’t have the time, it costs too much money, I don’t need to know this).

No more.

The Revolution’s HERE.

Written by Robert Darden

February 9, 2010 at 1:30 pm

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  1. We have got to get it together.
    We have got to get it together–now.

    This really is some kind of synchronicity. My first big edtech publication was titled “There’s Something In The Air: Podcasting in Education.” If you suffer from insomnia, it’s a great cure: http://www.educause.edu/EDUCAUSE+Review/EDUCAUSEReviewMagazineVolume40/TheresSomethingintheAirPodcast/158014. You’ll find all sorts of ill-concealed musical allusions in there.

    I love this song too. Its apocalyptic vision stirs me to my soul. I also love it because it’s playful: that bridge is a great little bit of barroom sportiness, and then it leads into that massive key change that brings it all home. Just superb. Of course it was produced by my man Pete Townshend….

    For more revelatory writing along these lines, you can’t beat Clay Shirky. Here’s a piece that I quote regularly: “Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable.” http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2009/03/newspapers-and-thinking-the-unthinkable.

    It’s a keeper, all right.

    Gardner

    14 Feb 10 at 5:56 pm     

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