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Thoughts and Questions about Lecture


What I found most compelling about this lecture was the question of the relationship between technology and death. Technologized death, (i.e. airplane bombings, atom bombs, guided missles, machine guns but also events such as car crashes) have fundamentally altered the experience of death in the 20th century.
However, what happens when technology is not the agent of death, but rather begins to represent death and dying? Does the medium of film, television, or say, the internet, necessarily distance us from our own bodily processes and if so, how? Do these technologies entail a desensitizing to death because they overload us with images rather than a "direct" experience of mortality? If so this raises an interesting question: namely, why do images of death seem to, on the one hand desensitize us and on the other hand horrify us more than other media, such as text, radio etc...? Also, as Wendy pointed out, don't these same technologies seem to give us a greater "connectivity" and a social experience of death? It seems that events like Hiroshima become more powerful because images can be quickly and universally disseminated, allowing the horror of the events to unite people across national and linguistic boundaries.
Remeber also that the victims of Hiroshima (see left) left shadows imprinted on the walls and streets of the city for much the same reason that photography works. I think what I am getting at is the question of the political responsibility involved in mourning at the collective scale when confronted by images of death in Palestine, New York, Japan, South Africa, or any other country. Do these technologies allow us to gain a broader worldview and enable us to suffer and mourn with others or do they desensitize us to the situation of others and keep us from direct contact with death as well as the socio-political institutions that perpetuate it. Does it become normal, almost comfortable, even abstract? Granted, this exploration is a long way off by now from what we covered in class, but it's what I got inspired to think about based on lecture.