Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Walkman: 30 Years

(Douglas Kirkland/Corbis)

From Dan Barry, in the Sunday New York Times "Week in Review" section, a meditation on the 30th anniversary of the Walkman:

Thirty years ago this month, the Sony Corporation made a huge contribution to human interaction by ensuring there was less of it. No longer would people who did not want to engage the world have to stick fingers in both ears and say, over and over, “La, la, la, I’m not listening!”

Wrong! Or just simplistic, and banal. As the book, Doing Cultural Studies: The Story of the Sony Walkman (du Gay et al) suggests, the Walkman connected one to the social world, the world of pop music, of youth culture, of mass media.

And just look at the image that accompanies the article (reproduced above). Is this Walkman user really just thumbing her nose at the world?

(Useful classroom exercises for the du Gay volume here.)

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