Scheming on a theme

Jim Groom, a guru of both ds106 and the 80s, took some time to talk about the course with me. I have an edited version above, and the full discussion is at

I’m hoping it gives some ideas on different ways we can approach the theme. We all have our own interests. I don’t expect people to share mine, but I know we can find ways to connect to the theme and to each other. As heard in the video, “What you find interesting is what you should cultivate.” Words of wisdom, Jim, words of wisdom.

I mention Sterling and Shiner’s “Mozart in Mirrorshades” (saved in the Files section of Canvas, if anyone is interested) in the longer version. It is a basic time-travel sci-fi story at first glance, but it does tell us something about its time, and gives us a view of the future from that perspective. The issues of environmentalism, consumerism, colonialism and militarism are all prominent. We, the future we, burned through the earth’s resources so we’re then mining the past. We in the past were perfectly happy to sell out ourselves for consumer culture crack: “your cheap manufactured goods seducing the people of our great country,” as Jefferson put it.
And yet, the power of celebrity rules over all: “We’re talking Top of the Pop, here. Not some penny-ante refinery,” we are told as they bring Mozart back to the future and sacrifice the rest of the operation. We could interpret that as the power of celebrity. We could also see the timelessness of art in it.

Next week we will start looking at the Assignment Bank, but reading this story made me think of the classic Troll Quote assignment, so I made one for it, with an 80s twist.


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