Hand-Held Visions: The Impossible Possibilities of Community Media

By Deedee Halleck | Go to book overview

Teaching on the Net:
The Dangerous Format
of Com Gen 100
June 1994

THE ADVERTISING AGENCIES know just how hungry Americans are for community: nothing short of sex sells so well. From the cracker-barrel geezers bathed in a rural golden rim light to the affable urban jocks on heavenly basketball courts, the notion of community suffuses television. And everyone is told what soft drink to guzzle and what shoes they need to wear to get it.

The longing for community is a deep need in my students, and I know that my most important work as a teacher is to somehow, some way, before the quarter is over, create a space and a situation in which they can be part of a community that does not define itself by products or boundaries of race, class, and gender. This is not an easy task on a campus that has an impersonal mall for a student center and acres of parking lots filled with personal automobiles.

The texture of daily education for my students is actually quite close to attending a cineplex at a giant shopping center. First the search for the parking place, then the line for the ticket (registration), the guzzling down of salt and sugar (the predominant ingredients at the campus eateries), the search for the seat, and finally the show. Unfortunately, at the university the rich tones of the arc lamp projector glowing through a finely tuned color print are replaced with florescent glare from Formica desks, vinyl floor tiles, and sterile wallboard. Instead of subtly mixed sounds of a quadraphonic soundtrack,

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