Trandall6’s Blog

Week 2: Disciplined and Disciplining co(a)gents: The remote control and the couch potato

Posted on: March 19, 2009

Week 2: Disciplined and Disciplining co(a)gents: The remote control and the couch potato


Michael’s text is an analysis of the relationship between people and technology and how technology might structure our relationships with each other. It begins by describing the characteristics of a ‘couch potato’ a person that mindlessly watches television remaining as sedentary as possible. Personally this has been and still is my favourite type of recreation so the text overall made me feel a little self conscious.


He explains that an overall theme of modern western society is disembodiment that is finding ways to bypass the body to achieve the minds ends using technology. Such disembodiment is viewed as a type of progress. Strangely I had never considered this despite being surrounded with this aspiration my whole life. Moreover the author explains that while trying to move the brains will from the body on to technology often the technology ironically uses a different part of the body. For instance walking over to the television set is replaced by moving your fingers on to a remote control. Even when attempts to bypass the body are not subconscious such as a remote control that is activated by brain waves the body still comes involved by the need to fit a device to it. After reading this I realised that I can not think of any technology that does not do this.


The author also analyses how the remote control is involved in the social environment in the household and the overall view of couch potato culture in society. He links the use of the remote control to power using statistics that explain that the dominant male father figure in the family usually controls its use (I assume these statistics come from those of a conservative Western culture). However the fact this dominant figure controls the information coming to his family is noticeably absent. In addition he also explains that in society those of the couch potato subculture are often viewed as selfish, lazy individuals that contribute nothing to society. Furthermore he adds that some believe that couch potatoes watch TV rather than participate in cultural activities such as visiting art galleries. Personally I find this classist as it is simply valuing one person’s idea of entertainment as better than that of another.


Anyways I procrastinated and only had a short amount of time for this one so I hope that at least something written here can contribute to some discussion.


Tim Randall



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  • trandall6: Thanks alot for that comment. I had never even considered the potental loss of data which could occur under such a model. Like you said, differnet per
  • indie69: Excellent part 3. You make some great points and bring up ideas that I hadn't thought of before. Different perspectives. The one thing I'd point o
  • indie69: Thanks for the comment on my blog. You've challenged some of my ideas, too. But really I just agree with you on the subscription model with the only r


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