Monday, July 12, 2010

Rhetorical Analysis on “ Shame and Forgetting in the Information Age”

In the essay “Shame and Forgetting in the information age.” the author, Charles Baxter altered people not to neglect the our basic skill of remembering and experiencing, only resort to technic information. Learn and earn a correct attitude dealing with shame and forgetting is quite necessary in this information age
Tom, Baxter’s big brother could never learn to remember through paper and screen but is absolutely excel in controlling his memory of experience. “ Forgetting was shameful to him, and he felt it marked his way for life.” (Baxter P. 141)His forgetfulness shames him all his life with a tragic ending without any achievement. This is a story that astonished people by thinking: should the information plays such an important role? Seems like people today are losing patient to what can be experienced as human-beings but tend to rely on data information instead. Tom’s failure to get rid of shame and forgetfulness forces to people to consider how can we deal with the same problem in an age so called “info-glut”.
Is the info-glut really close to us? The answer is affirmative as it is not hard to observe. However, Baxter is even more confident to let you read the examples he made or stand in a situation he granted through which he can bring up a similar context to the reader, say, the conversation talking about “memory” on campus. “ ‘Your memory’ can now in casual conversation refer to your computer’s memory rather than your own.”( Baxter P.145) . So what about “facebook” or “twitter”? These words has entrusted much more popular indications than what is explained in the dictionary.These changes are all because of the technology development and information age’s extension. Today,we prefer to remember the temperature on TV or Internet rather than go outside to feel it by ourselves. Baxter explains “ Remembering data and remembering an experience are two very different activities.”( Baxter P.146), for many times, the weather is not as cold or warm as you saw on the screen. The weather forecast may be one of the thousands examples that people today prone to remember data. If there is a day you have to take over the job of a former renowned cook to make a famous cuisine for the gourmets outside. You’ d better remember the exact names and dosages of the ingredient needed unless you have tasted the dish before, Otherwise you’ll have to face endless complains and a bleaker business. Forgetfulness corners people even more when the information was transformed into data, however, most people are still struggling to get used to that. “ In an information age, forgetfulness is a sign of debility and incompetence. It is taken as weakness, an emblem of losing one’s grip.”( Baxter P.147) It seems like people today have face much more intensive tension in memorize in order to keep his life and career smoothly going on. Sometimes we may be envious to see the exception of Bill Clinton since his forgetfulness is likely allowed. But sometimes we should be happy to be normal guy unlike Tom and Regan. However, Baxter’s interpretation still forces us to doubt: Has information today been transformed into garbage?

As all of us could feel the information age’s surrounding which confirmed Walt Benjamin’s prediction. And moreover, his vexation of experience deficiency presents too.“ His implication is that the coming information-glut will force experience - and the storytelling generally - into a corner and additionally force it to resort to extremes.” ( Baxter P. 149) Looking around our world, a bigger and bigger number of people are trying to remember without experience, and that may result in a hollow mind after an easily forgetting. Such an ugly extreme aftermath that nobody wants to see. If we think about our emotion after we forget — the shame, appears more and more often. “ Forgetting and shame might just serve, under the immediate surface consciousness, as an escape route of sorts.”( Baxter P.150) Feel shame must be the most direct reaction you make to avoid the feel of guilty. And this is unstoppable unless you use your heart to learn and keep it mind. Girls like to blame their boyfriends for forgetting Valentine’s day or their birthday. But it is not a problem for true lovers because love is an experience carved on heart not so easy to forget as the date on your cellular. The data, also as Baxter concerns, is senseless without a counterpart of experience.

But how can we deal with the memory crisis? Baxter suggests to write a memoir which he depicts as the “revenge upon info-glut .” In the memoir, we can narrate our own stories on paper, chew on the memories deeply buried ,renew the way we think about history and try to identify ourselves. However, the shame aroused by the chronic information memory forget could elicit even more forgetful when we try to retrieve our own personal experience. “Shame comes the first, but strategic forgetting follows closely behind.”( Baxter P.153) Baxter points out the phenomenon of “ father distortion” is attribute to shame and strategic amnesia. The disappearance of some details may contribute to a whole piece of memory omission and replaced by fabricated ones with a certain type of inclination afterwards. Nevertheless, the last section is named“ Maybe erasure is necessary.” for Baxter believes forgetfulness is not as worthless all situations. There are bad memories that block us to make objective decision and also delude us to pick the right choice. Forgetting could be a skill to learn as well. “Strategic amnesia of everyday life, both involuntary and willful.”( Baxter P.157) Try to forget something traumatic strategically may affect an individual’s way of life, change his/her attitude toward the future and be responsible to the person who loves him. This is another way to value our own memory and experience.

At the end of the essay, Baxter claims “ All the computers in the world cannot remedy it .( usage of personal experience)”( Baxter P.157) . Alarming the dissemination of computer technology not only marks the information age today but also plays the greatest threat to the human natural experience. So please value your own experience before it’s too late.

No comments:

Post a Comment