I find Frank’s article to be important and there’s a lot of truth in what he’s saying, but you will notice that the essay is from 1995. It’s important to pay attention to the main argument that he’s making, that counter culture and corporate culture share a confluence of interests, that businesses use the ideology of rebellion to sell consumer goods. That is largely true, but what’s very important to note is that it is not completely true, or it is not always true. A segment of the corporate world works this way, but not all companies, not by a long shot. Also, Frank is discussing ways in which corporations co-opt the spirit of individualism and rebellion to sell goods. However, capitalism isn’t only about businesses selling stuff. The major force in global neoliberal capitalism today is finance capital and the circulation of money. Finance does not need to sell rebellion, just profit. Another point to note is, that if you think about it, what Frank is really saying is that when he says “Why Johnny Can’t Dissent,” what he’s really saying is “Johnny isn’t going to be very successful in dissenting if he dissents today the way the beats dissented in the 60s.” In other words, as we learn from Zapatismo, new forms and ways of dissenting must be invented.
Carr’s discussion of neuroplasticity seems to be both a hopeful and cautious gesture, and gives us, in our class, tools for doing a couple of things. First, for conjecturing on how the internet is physically re-wiring our brains, and second, for thinking about how we are not locked into our habits, our patterns, and neoliberal practices. All of these things, as Frank does not say, can be revised and changed. It takes effort but its not impossible.
For this post, I’d like you to do two things. I’d like you to find an advertisement that supports Frank’s thesis. In your own words, describe what Frank’s thesis is and then include an ad in your post, and then explain how that ad supports his thesis. Go on to write a paragraph about your opinion about how “on point” you think Frank is or is not.
Second, pick one example of neuroplasticity that Carr discusses and then link that to how you think the influence the internet and associated technologies may be having on our behavior. For Carr, these behaviors are clearly influencing the organization of our brains, but what I’d like you to do is to explain how we change how we use our brains when we use the internet and when we don’t.