Tuesday, 18 October 2011

I know this is a bit of a late contribution -- I wanted to post this as a comment, but it won't let me comment either. We thought we had it sorted after last week's session (but that's a different issue).
I also have free anti-virus software so I know exactly what Amy means about near-constant prompts to upgrade the program, and in doing so upgrade the amount of money in the company bank account of its manufacturer.
I want to express my sympathy to Eva, and am reminded of a sketch from 2D:TV (now there's a blast from the past), where Bill Gates discovers a pen and notepad and comes to consider infinately superior to one of his computers for storing information. After all, it never freezes or crashesand you never have to save anything (plus, there's no chance of it becoming infected with a virus).


  1. Computer viruses, like all viruses, expose concealed connections between seemingly autonymous agents. It's worth reflecting on the co-emergence of computer viruses and AIDS in the 1980s. I'm not suggesting that they are connected in any way (although have a look at Neal Stephenson's cyberpunk classic Snowcrash to read about a virus that shifts from electronic to biological systems via the medium of language), but that both challenge the dominant liberal assumption of autonomous subjectivity. We like to think that we're individuals, making our own decisions and existing distinctly from those around us. Yet really we're connected, and in ways of which we are often unaware.

    Full disclosure: I've written about computer viruses and the flu in a recent book called Minds Bodies Machines, 1770-1930 (Palgrave, 2011), pp. 161-178.

    And, in terms of the Joker and chaos, I recommend checking out Poe's 'The Imp of the Perverse'

  2. I found this observation of Poe's particularly relevant to our discussion:

    'I had left no shadow of a clue by which it would be possible to convict, or even suspect, me of the crime. It is inconceivable how rich a sentiment of satisfaction arose in my bosom as I reflected upon my absolute security.'

    I think the appeal of virus-creating could stem come from the lack of repercussions; there is no physical evidence of which to be convicted by.


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