Response 5

“Learn from Las Vegas” Stephen Duncombe

In the passage “Learn from Las Vegas”, Duncombe relates the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas to politics and the ideas of Progressives. Duncombe uses Las Vegas as an example of how the architects took into account the use of the buildings and people’s desires and values. He argued that politics should do the same thing taking into account peoples’ values and desires even if they are irrational, this is where Duncombe uses the word “taboo”. A taboo is defined as ” restrictions, prohibitive laws laid down by society to ensure stability “. Basically a taboo restricts people’s irrational desires, in politics if people don’t play the role assigned to them it is the progressives job to keep them from these evil desires. Duncombe argues that ” instead of tabooing our desires we must redirect them”. Duncombe also recognized that redirection could be used not only on human desires but to widen the thinking about making politics more responsive to all human desires. This can be related to Neil Postman’s “The Medium  is the Metaphor” because Las Vegas is a metaphor for human desires, and the medium or message that should be taken from it is that all human desires can be redirected into something productive in society.

Thomas Frank “Why Johnny Can’t Resist”

In the passage “Why Johnny Can’t Resist” Thomas Frank discusses corporations and the people that rebel against them. Frank’s argument was that the people that rebel against corporations are becoming corporations themselves. this can be related to Lewis Mumford’s The Automation of Knowledge” because Mumford argued that people are losing the ability to think deeper and function on their own without machines.

Plans for my essay

For my essay I plan to narrow down my choices to three main topics then, gather sources on each topic. In my essay structure there will be a paragraph or two to explain each topic using the sources I collected. Then I will write a paragraph explaining which topic I have chosen to continue writing about in my issue paper. Finally, I will write a conclusion explaining my thoughts on all three topics.

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2 Responses to Response 5

  1. Abigale says:

    “Duncombe argues that ” instead of tabooing our desires we must redirect them”. Duncombe also recognized that redirection could be used not only on human desires but to widen the thinking about making politics more responsive to all human desires. This can be related to Neil Postman’s “The Medium is the Metaphor” because Las Vegas is a metaphor for human desires, and the medium or message that should be taken from it is that all human desires can be redirected into something productive in society.”

    This entire quote is great and truly reflects what I also believe to be the central idea of the essay and the connection it made to Neil Postman’s “The Medium is the Metaphor” Las Vegas is a representation of people’s desires and even fears and people oftentimes go there to live those fantasies out. Las Vegas as a physical piece of land does not represent that. People get their perceptions of what Vegas is through the various mediums that transmit certain images.

  2. I enjoyed your explanation on the Duncombe piece, I agree that it does relate to Postman’s “The medium is the metaphor.” I also enjoyed that you discussed the concept of taboo, I think I may have overlooked that concept but after reading your post I understand the point a bit more. For me on the Frank piece, I really didn’t see the connection to “Automation of Knowledge,” but I do see the connection you are trying to make. Overall, good post!

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