I’m writing up my syllabus for a first-year seminar in American Studies (I’m still riffing on the title. It should include the idea of “the good life”—as that’s the common theme among the first year seminars–and also cue the students that we’ll be looking at a number of digital media technologies: games, online video, information networks, etc.. “The Digital Good Life”? “The Good Life Goes Digital”? Needless to say, suggestions welcome).

I find it difficult to go on with a smile in my heart, however, when I read things like this:

  • They’re going to make a sequel to the film Wild Hogs. Seriously?!! We just can’t get enough of middle-aged men on Harleys?! Touchstone, you’re killing me!
  • I suppose it’s official: the movie version of Alan Moore’s Watchmen is going forward. From the director who brought us 300. And some truly bizarre casting. When I heard they’d got Patrick Wilson, it seemed safe to assume he’d play Veidt. But Nite Owl?! I hope Wilson has a deep affection for Krispy Kremes, or similar fat-bomb snack-sized product.
  • Meanwhile, Rush Hour 3 was the top opener at the box office last weekend, and apparently scored the fourth-highest opening of the summer. Please, see anything but this film. For the sake of the children, and all future race relations.

I suppose these are the examples that let me complicate the concept of the digital good life. If there are ways that media networks can make us smarter, there are ways it can make us dumber too. While I love Steven Johnson’s thesis of the Sleeper Curve, this is definitely a case of “everything bad is NOT good for you.”

**On a brighter note: someone has made Watchmen legos? Who knew? But what’s up with Rorschach’s hat?!?!


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