Sunday, May 17, 2009

our rock stars are not your mother's rock stars

I saw this video for the first time yesterday while watching the season finale of "Fringe" on Hulu.

Our rock stars, the commercial explains, aren't like your rock stars.

Let me tell you a story: In my day job, I work with media scholar Henry Jenkins. Last year, I was sent to the South by Southwest Interactive Festival, where Henry and Steven Johnson were scheduled to hold a discussion at the front of an enormous room, which filled up fast. As Henry and I were chatting before the event, a woman walked up to Henry and girlishly asked, "would you mind if I got a picture of me standing next to you?"

"Sure," said Henry, as if this sort of thing happened all the time. (I later found out that it does.)

Here's Henry Jenkins:

What I like about the Intel commercial is that it points to an interesting characteristic of our culture: that when people are as immersed in a field as the Intel employees of the commercial clearly are, they have their own set of rock stars who aren't like "real" rock stars. Well, at least they don't look like rock stars. But they do share certain common features with pop icons: They are generally very, very talented; they have achieved something we fantasize about; and they are famous among people who care about their field.

I'm going to come clean and admit that I have my own rock stars, and I suspect that many of my readers do too. Here's the deal: After I list my rock stars, you have to list yours. But make sure to identify your field, so we can all know how and why these people are superstars to you. I chose to stick with 3 because I didn't want to look like some sort of crazy groupie, though of course I could go on.

Jenna's Rock Stars

field: education / new media / participatory culture / technology / creativity
1. Educational researcher, games expert, and social justice theorist Jim Gee
2. Technology writer Clay Shirky
3. Insane genius philosopher Bruno Latour

Your turn.


Cool International said...

I hadn't seen this commercial yet. I love it! Passion transcends the medium. Rockstars are the perfect metaphor for corybantic efforts.

invention addict said...

Do they have to be living and non-fictional?

my field is engineering/quality/inventing

My top 3 not in any order:
1) Walt Disney for fantastic vision
2) Thomas Edison incredible persistence
3) Willie Wonka pure imagination

Stephen B

Anonymous said...

OK, I must be some sort of crazy groupie, because I can't possibly narrow it down to three.

A while back, Jenna posted a blog which stated how much better the online cat forums would be if we could convince the vets to join the forums. Well, my rock stars are some of the vets (and others) that HAVE joined the forums, and give freely of their time and knowledge in order to help ferrets and their owners.

Field: Veterinary Medicine / Ferrets

1) Ruth Heller, DVM. I would consider moving to Pennsylvania, just so she could be my ferrets' vet
2) Sukie Crandall, internet researcher extraordinaire
3) Alexandra Sargent-Colburn, possibly THE best storyteller I've ever had the pleasure of reading
4) Bob Church, zooarchaeologist specializing in ferret research
5) Jerry Murray, DVM
6) Bruce Williams, DVM
7) Rebecca Stout, AKA Wolfy

Thanks for posting this, Jenna. It made me realize how easy it is to take people like this for granted, forgetting to thank them until it's too late. In fact, I'm on my way right now to post this response to one of the internet lists as a thank you to the wonderful people who give so unselfishly of themselves in order to help the ferret community.

Becky DeGeer

Sophzilla said...

I love this topic! Two off the top of my head.

Mr. McIntyre, my junior high social studies teacher, who challenged me and encouraged me to think.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, German theologian, who gave Christians a kick in the pants. Standing against injustice (in his case, the Nazis) is your responsibility.


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