Paul Muhlhauser

Paul’s musing in this section extend his ideas on the earlier "body snatchers" theme.

"I feel like we are experiencing things in ways that are pod-like or modular. An iPod person is a podular or modular rhetor. Her/his body has become a digital locus. She/he can choose or turn on and off when, where, and how to communicate. She/he can choose when to be embodied or interactive with a physical environment. As an iPod person, I remember my mother as an email and the pictures she chooses to send me. All I know are the digital rhetorics involving distance and interface. As an iPod person, I don’t know the modes of touch or smell or taste of my mother. I don’t remember them because I never experience them anymore. The memories I do recall and the arguments I can make are implants. I feel like for us iPods, the body or being with other bodies is becoming obsolete no matter how multimedia arguments become.

Then, again, from my experiences as an iPod person, I am not sure what I would do if I saw my  mother again without distance or interface. I’m not really sure how to act like I email or like I website. I have a feeling if I woke up in a face-to-face interaction, I would be a pod person. Maybe it is better to keep this relationship in a digital medium.

Maybe this is how we should end our emails:

Mom: I pod you.
Me: I pod you, too."



Elisabetta Adami and Gunther Kress (2010) wrote about the significance of mobile devices and their ability to capture and manipulate images from everyday life:

Representing reality by selecting and 'capturing' becomes a 'naturalized' activity. In this way, present reality is conceived in terms of possible future needs of representations of past event[s], in terms of usability as representation and artefact, rather than of living experience. (p. 189)

For Adami and Kress ways of embodied or living experience are changing. Instead of only experiencing or being part of an event, the ways in which one represents and captures events takes on increased significance. As paradigms for being in and interacting with the world shift through uses of digital communications technologies, generational literacies become increasingly important to understand. While mobile devices are shifting how we interact with one another, they are not isolated technologies being used in one way by one type of technolgically savvy generation. Adami and Kress make a strong point; however, we must remember digital technologies communicate with other technologies and generational and cultural paradigms that may not have "naturalized" capturing representations as part of their worldview or cultural practices.



Paul discussed this "naturalization" process: Face-to-face (f2f) interactions between Paul and his mother have become challenging. What seems to be natural (e.g., f2f) has been de-naturalized in their relationship. Paul feels that digital communication technologies are isolating and, perhaps, alienating in the sense that one becomes more adept at a particular medium than another. He has become good at conceiving of present reality, as Adami and Kress note, "in terms of possible future needs of representations of past events...rather than living experience." It isn't necessarily that he and his mother are estranged; it is just that some communication practices are becoming estranged.


While we do believe in encouraging students to become rhetorically savvy in their "capturing" and "selecting," we also wonder if time in our classrooms should be devoted to f2f communication styles. Perhaps the rhetoric of f2f is, itself, becoming an artifact.