Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Reflections on changing history, national identity, and cultural events in the American midwest

I did quite a bit of driving this past week, traveling to and from Tulsa, Oklahoma, on both Wednesday and Friday. It’s about two hours of driving one-way from where I live north of Oklahoma City, so that’s almost eight hours of driving in two days. One of my favorite things to do when commuting or traveling in my car is listening to my iPod on “random shuffle.” Since I am subscribed to 53 different podcast channels (via the free PodNova sevice, my OPML is available) there is little chance of boredom when I’m in the car and want to take a break from listening to music. My loaded iPod is a deep reservoir of compelling content about science, art, technology, history, education, and many other topics. I like to drive in the car because it gives me a chance to reflect on things and put my brain, to an extent, on autopilot. Having a content-rich iPod allows me to immerse myself in a world of complex and compelling ideas whenever I desire that experience, and I think those opportunities are both amazing as well as often compelling.

holding the amazing iPod

Today, I listened to artist Greta Pratt’s WGBH Forum lecture “Nineteen Lincolns.” Greta spent ten years traveling around the midwest of the United States photographing a wide assortment of festivals, fairs, and other “cultural events” in small towns. Many of these included historical re-enactments. Greta’s analysis of how our perceptions of history are constantly changing is very interesting, particularly given the fact that “regular folks” now have access to media recording tools and a global communications network to share stories from and perspectives on history which could not have been broadly disseminated in previous decades. (I’m thinking of our statewide “Celebrate Oklahoma Voices” project in this regard.)

If you are not already subscribed to WGBH Forum Network podcasts, consider doing so. I love the ecclectic mix of topics and speakers. Like most podcasts, they are 100% free. I know I’ll never listen to ALL of the content on my iPod, and I use Juice Receiver (which connects to PodNova and iTunes) to periodically “clean up” my podcasts and remove ones that I don’t think I’ll ever listen to, but since I have an 80 GB iPod that is only about two-thirds full with over 4,700 songs, podcasts and videos, I don’t feel any pressure to keep “extra podcast episodes” cleaned off. Excess iPod capacity is a wonderful thing in this context.

For more on using PodNova, Juice and iTunes, check out my post “The joy of Juice Receiver and PodNova” from last May and my video podcast / screencast from January, “Cleaning Up Downloaded Podcasts with Juice Receiver.”

Those who record history have an important and extremely serious responsibility. In the past, we might have considered the “official” histories recorded in our textbooks as the histories written by “the winners” of historic conflicts. Now that new media tools, including web 2.0 resources, can literally be at the fingertips of anyone on our planet with digital connectivity, that perception of history may change in fundamental ways. I hope it does. We need to have access to MORE VOICES from history and from our present age. Web 2.0 technologies certainly ARE promoting that ethic of making diverse perspectives more accessible to a broader audience than ever before in the history of humanity on planet earth.

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One response to “Reflections on changing history, national identity, and cultural events in the American midwest”

  1. Pat Avatar

    Glad you also load your ipod up with podcasts. I have a 20GB classic with no video but I love to listen to the podcasts when we are traveling (especial an NPR news show called Wait Wait Don’t Tell). I am in the process of convincing hubby I need the 160 GB Ipod classic with video so he can have my old one! I will check out the podcast that you mention too.