Final Reflective Post

It was fun reading through all of the posts in one place! Like a trip down memory lane.

I’ve always enjoyed writing about digital technology, and recognize a clear bias I have toward wanting more digital things in the world that do cool stuff. I’m definitely the last person to write off these things as unnecessary.

I think I successfully tied one digital artifact into each of my blog posts, which I wouldn’t have even said was my goal – but it’s definitely cool to look back and see I accomplished that. With the exception of the post about the themes in our monster readings. I’m actually quite proud of that one, though. I don’t think I usually share that sort of synthesis: digging through a text.

Some themes I notice myself drawn to: universality of the digital and the idea of “the other” (or unknown). And I think if I had to make one more content-oriented post it would be on the connection between the two, and how everyone is using technology but we leave it to do its own work inside of a black box.

Reflective Post: I Have Questions About the Body, Apparently

Most of my blog posts pick up on small details from the week’s readings and ask questions about them or nitpick or disagree with points the authors are making. In later blog posts, this might be a function of my profound discomfort dealing with technology’s new role in death and mourning – especially as that shades into questioning the role of the body.

For example, I didn’t like Jonathan Sterne’s idea that the voice is less whole somehow if it is no longer linked to the body, so I tried to find fault with his argument. In another post, I likened researchers monitoring Facebook use to scientists performing trials on non-consenting subjects. Loss of autonomy when it comes to the body or extensions thereof (your likeness and name on social media, for instance) upsets me. When I wrote about Dead Set, I was concerned with the difference between seeing and communicating with other people – the importance of physical presence.

This fascination with the body has been evident in other work I’ve done this year (most notably in poetry I’ve written), and I hadn’t realized it was showing up in my academic work until I started reviewing my blog posts.

The other trend I notice is that in my earlier posts, I drew connections between class texts or asked questions of them, while in my later posts, I began making arguments of my own. I think that demonstrates my growing confidence with the class’s subject matter and investment in reaching my own conclusions.

Final Reflective Post: Death, Media, and Ethics

When I went back and reread my blog posts from the course of the semester, I have to say I wasn’t very surprised about what I found. I knew already that I usually used the class readings as a jumping-off point from which to link the material to my own experiences or other forms of media, but I think that as the semester went on, I (hopefully) tried to make deeper connections and look more closely at the readings.

Regarding themes, there is definitely a recurring theme of the movies and TV shows I’m familiar with in my posts, such as The Walking Dead, The Sixth Sense, and The Umbrella Academy, but on the other hand, I don’t have much personal experience in how death and technology are related, so it makes sense that I would look to outside examples when writing my blog posts.

Something else I observed in my own writing was my tendency to try to end my posts with a larger question or generalized statement about the class’s topics, sometimes with an added moral element about the concepts of death and technology as well. For example, I noticed that in my most recent post about Chernobyl and dark tourism especially, I focused a lot on the ethics of memorials and touring sites of tragedy (like we had discussed in class regarding Yolocaust).

If I had to go back and revisit or revise my previous blog posts, I think I would try to talk more about the larger theoretical concepts of the class and tie my examples back to those rather than focusing so much on the specific details of the day’s readings.

Final Reflective Post: The Grey Area

Throughout the course of the semester, my blog posts managed to touch upon a number of key themes from the class including death, horror, the eerie, the Internet, and artificial intelligence.  A large portion of my posts, however, seemed to have a focus on the moral implications of our technology, media, and consumption.  More specifically, nearly all my posts touched on the issue of ethics and morality.  In a world dominated by endless conflicting viewpoints and disagreements, the same problem seemed to manifest itself across our course material.  Though each post was in response to different articles/novels/shows, a seeming lack of clear, objective morality permeated across all subjects, which was one of the key takeaways I had from the course.  The relationship between us as humans and the technology we use is inescapable, which I saw pertinent to understand the effects both can have.

My most recent blog post discussed the implications of AI ethics and the difficulty in deciding how these machines ought to be programmed.  Funnily enough, my issue is not with the AI itself, but rather how we as humans would successfully agree on some definitive morality for these machines when we can’t even agree on our own moral issues.  My first blog post, on the other hand, was focused upon the moral ambiguity that exists within the modern horror genre.  This seems like the core issue I found in the class was regarding our own societal values and ethics.  I was able to learn a ton about our relationship with death, technology, and media throughout this course, but this does not answer the larger question: what are the moral implications of all this?  Obviously, the answer will vary from person to person which is why I see morality and ethics as the largest issue surrounding our relationships to death and technology.  Technology, after all, is supposed to simplify our lives and compute without bias.  In the case of morals, however, technology seems to serve the opposite purpose and complicate things even more.  This understandably causes discomfort amongst people, which make it an ongoing, unsolved dilemma.  It will be interesting to see where AI advances in the next few years and how we attack the issue of conflicting morals.

The ultimate takeaway I have from the class is the fact that everything operates in the grey area.  Technology can be both good and bad.  Social media can be both good and bad.  Phones, cars, robots, reality television–the list could go on.  But most importantly, we as humans operate within this same space.  We are neither inherently good or bad or right or wrong.  It is our choice to make that decision ourselves through our own lived experience.  Our technology just happens to be a “black mirror” that we can use to reflect on our own values and practices, which, eventually, will have a lasting impact on the future.  To maximize the potential of our own creation (technology), we as a society must first reach the potential within ourselves.  “Death” comes into play when, or if, we don’t.

Reflective Post: Devil’s in the Details

In three of my five blog posts, I focused on specific aspects of either the piece itself or something that the reading reminded me of. Even in my two more vague, broad-view posts, I had something specific in mind. For instance, in my post on “Rethinking Repair,” I was thinking of the YouTuber Louis Rossman, who went viral for the rants against Apple that prefaced his home computer repair videos, and in my post on grief trolls and the separation between a person and their social media profiles, I was thinking of the distance between my own personality and my Instagram persona. I tend to think and focus on the details because they offer a way for me to understand the larger concept without getting confused or bogged down by the massive amount of information I feel is connected to the big picture. Each blog post was almost as much a Sightings post as it was related to the specific readings.

I think the reason that I did stop referencing the specific events near the end of the class can be attributed to how I was synthesizing concepts from earlier but didn’t want to go ridiculously far over the word limit to cover everything I was thinking of. If I were to go back, I think I would more directly reference the themes and concepts I was considering and also work them more thoroughly into the first few blog posts, which were very detail-oriented and less concept-based. I would still reference examples, but I would discuss more of the overall relevance of the examples and what they add to the discussion as a whole.

Final Reflective Post: The “Cat”-Walking Dead, and other tales of Fashion and Haunting

I  recently wondered out loud what outfit people would imagine me in every time they conjured up my memory after I died. Hopefully, it’s a dope one. Anecdote aside, my blog posts by in large this semester have focused on how anxieties regarding death become embedded in material objects we leave after us. My first post dealt specifically with anxieties over “ghost hood” and female abjection in its analysis of the placement of Andrew Wyeth’s painting Christina’s World in the book A Head Full of Ghosts. Later posts dealt with how the eerie was conveyed through things such as an abandoned shoe on the cross country trails, the idea that a ghost likely wouldn’t be depicted in clothing after a certain decade (the 40’s), and how video games use aesthetic costumes to transport violence from virtual reality to material consumerism. These posts spoke to ongoing projects for the class such as the macabre clothing store “Deadpop” I made for the Haunted Media Project and in my final project that will build off my last post’s analysis of the movie Toy Story in which sentient objects experience death in comparable ways to humans.

I am clearly interested in how anxieties over death become displaced or represented through the objects we choose to define ourselves, be they clothes or toys. I also, apparently, really love to quote Walter Benjamin, sometimes frankly when he doesn’t need to be quoted.

There is in itself a kind of uncanniness about leafing through one’s past academia, specifically when it is digitized. I have a tendency to forget pretty quickly what or how I’ve written and, in looking back on some of the earlier posts, I’m kind of jarred by my pretentious language so I really apologize for that. But this brings me to a more salient point–to what extent does reading one’s old writing perform a kind of haunting experience?

I’m thinking about this question in relation to a conversation I had in my creative nonfiction class about the way in which reading old diary entries feels invasive, even though, technically, they are your diary entries. To what extent, I wonder, do we at some point view certain thoughts and actions, be they academic or not, as emblematic of a “dead” version of ourselves. We can experience what it would be like for someone to look at our old things and reflect on what kind of person we were in life in our present moment. But the point I’m trying to make is, how are we always thinking or projecting ourselves into our inevitable death? How can we experience memorialization before we have died? Well, reading old blog posts I’ve written that someone may one day scrounge up long after I’ve gone sort of does the trick. And makes me cringe just a little. 

Final Reflections

My posting evolved over the course of this semester from what I thought I should be interested in relevant to this class to pursuing my actual interests from the basis of this class.

I started with a dutiful report on the Doomsday Clock the afternoon after Professor Sample told us about it. While intriguing to notice, this post is at its core an explanation of an event through listing the Clock’s changes since its making. I wrote other Sightings post this last week of May. The one I have posted so far explores how and why different countries have different rules about media. Not only more engaging and learning-focused, this post arose from something I noticed in my life rather than a following of statements from class.

With this ideological growth has come representational challenges. The more abstract an idea, the more difficult it is to write about clearly. I became conscious of this differentiation through authoring my Comparative Media Project, in which I struggled to find a balance between exposition and analysis. However, my learning evolved alongside my work this semester in other classes: all were writing-focused, and I worked as a Humanities Fellow. Though a challenging transition, my writing grew in analytical depth through this class. I believe a good part of that has to do with the pattern in which we learned. Our first work, like the Snapchat assignment, was engaging and fruitful but straightforward, as opposed to later assignments like Haunted Media in which we had greater freedom to build off our then-supported understandings.

I explored a variety of topics in my posts, again growing in depth.

I feel my fourth blog post, “How Can You Come Back If You Never Left?”, is one of my best. Here, I was able to include several aspects and subjects of analysis into a cohesive narrative that examined my learning through my interests and findings.

A Semester Worth of Thoughts

When I revisit my posts from the beginning of this semester, I am truly struck by how far I have come since those posts. This semester has been one of the most difficult times of my life and in seeing the way in which my thoughts and posts reflect my journey through the past 4 months is pretty surreal.

Throughout my posts, one of the most common themes that I find is that my writings were almost always concerned with comparisons and contrasts. Initially I blogged from a more comparative view first in contrasting the POV of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Exorcist and then going on to compare the different characters from Dead Set before I followed up with a comparison of two of our readings: “The Resonant Tomb” and The Audible Past. These first three posts were effectively based in my own observations. While I did analyze the parties involved in my comparisons, I was not really asserting one over the other but was rather stating my own observations in an informative manner. This style of comparison and exploring dichotomies stayed constant for my final two posts as well but my style evolved from simply observing to more directly stating my own thoughts and opinions.

My final two posts followed the tract set of comparisons except this time I was comparing the thoughts and assertions of the readings with my own. In my final two posts I argued against the idea of discrediting any type of cyber-relationship as not being part of the “real world” and I held that dark tourism was not some new phenomenon related to Chernobyl specifically. I directly disagreed with the readings and my blog posts reflected the contrasting views as I had done so previously except this time the view was my own. This is the strongest development I have observed and is really indicative of how this semester has played out for me in my opinion. I feel like I have gotten much better at being direct and advocating for myself both in and out of the classroom and the trend of my blog posts match this evolution.

Final Reflective Post

Well here we are at the end of all things.

As I read through my posts I noticed more than anything that I am very critical and skeptical of everything that we have read. My posts question the legitimacy of statements and or character shifts authors make in their characters. I seem to look to critique the pieces rather than synthesize them. My posts often lead me to question aspects of the reading or my own analysis. This need to question may stem from the fact that I am quite critical of movies and books when I watch/read them. Rarely do I dole out praise for things without following up with a but, or except. Another random thing I noticed is that I also use the line or lines similar to, “left me to question,” a lot.

I do seem to focus heavily on perspective as well. I try to figure out why characters or readers feel certain ways about events. In my second post I write pretty exclusively about perspective. In my first post I also seem to focus on why Mary’s parents behaved the way they did. I try to name counter examples to possible rationals and really seem to dig myself into the motivation behind the pieces. Even in my last post I try to refute the general argument that is made about waste. I felt as though the authors perspective limited the importance of creativity. Though now I don’t stand strongly by this argument I find it interesting that I felt the need to make an argument out of the post. Perhaps that’s just my writing style or personality.

I didn’t see a huge shift in my strategy for analysis over the past 15 weeks. I seem to keep a similar voice and technique. I think this is really just the style I write in when writing non-hyper academic pieces. I like to use a conversational voice. That voice appeared in my papers as well. In my opinion it’s a far more entertaining way to write and read because it sounds real.

In conclusion, I am really surprised at how critical I am about all the pieces. Hopefully that isn’t how I sound in class and in life outside class! I am not a negative guy I suppose I just like to question things and my history background has turned me into more of a skeptic than a believer. I really did enjoy the readings I must just default to critiques subconsciously when I read.


Rather unsurprisingly, almost all of my blog posts reference or are centered around the social implications of our readings. Starting with the male gaze in The Exorcist and ending with issues of capitalism in how we consider dark tourism, I consistently turn to the humanities point of view when thinking about the death of technology. Some readings, however, got me out of my comfort zone and thinking about the more basic, moral implications of technology.

My second to last blog post focused not on any one injustice, but on my discomfort with a digital archive post-death, citing such “efforts as narcissism.” My post before that considered Zora Neale Hurston’s work in light of our discussion of anthropological sound. My post wasn’t overtly about sexism or racism, but I wrote it in response to the problem I had with Jonathan Sterne’s article, which I didn’t feel properly addressed either the implications of white anthropologists recording non-white subjects or the existence of non-white anthropologists, working with the same technology at the same time. By the time I got to my last blog post, I was able to directly speak on my own role in the phenomena we’ve read about. Though I believe we (as people, as Americans, as technology users) have been consistently implicated throughout the course, it took me until the last round to reference my own life and personal involvement in dark tourism.

My blog posts seem to mirror very well my comments in class as well as my interests beyond the class. The articles we’ve read have given me a lot of insight into issues surrounding technology, from reality TV zombies to repair culture, but I find them most useful when put into conversation with larger societal issues. What has been the point of these readings if not to apply them to our contemporary moment and the things we care about? That sentiment, I think, is what my blog posts are really trying to get at.