All entries for Monday 27 September 2004

September 27, 2004

Alone in the Dark

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

Outside the Student Union, a serpent of irritated freshers snakes this way and that, creeping as a line of darkness, croaking complaints, straining miserably to hear the music. Elsewhere, in the heart of the dark, a keyboard rattles within emptiness contained.

Or not quite. Right now, I am in the Learning Grid, apparently accompanied by two others. The man on my right plays minesweeper, and tries to check his email. On my left, another student does something unintelligible. (They appear to have been paid, and so they don't count.)

The point is, I feel I am now in some priviledged position where I can answer some questions. Especially why the Learning Grid is currently (almost) empty.

A: It's called the Learning Grid.

Have we not learnt any lessons? Where do you send your kids when they prevent your lovemaking? A school. What department of the government deals with schools? The Education Department. Any hints?

People are scared of the word learning. This is a fundamental fear, placed at an early age. The fear is something like this: That you might learn something. Think evolutionarily - adaptation is due to mutations, which is connected to cancer and so on. This builds up pathways in the brain - learning = death.

Now it would be rather harmless if it was coupled with some other word, like Centre. But Grid... now that is another matter. The Grid, if we all remember was a rather exciting thriller about terrorism. The National Grid is Britain's power distribution system, which if it fails, will kill just about everybody. Grids are the nemesis of geeks, which is the Learning Grid's primary audience. (outside of the desperate) So, what subconscious image is triggered by the Learning Grid?

B: It's dark.

Are you afraid of the dark? I'm not, but since I seem to be somewhere around the antipode of averageness, this suggests that most people are. Yet the Learning Grid is situated in the darkest part of the school. There are lights, certainly, but they are kept off. And there are hedges aplenty – enough places for any terrorist to hide.

C: It's underadvertised.

Go around school. Count the number of Warwick Blogs ads there are. Now look for Learning Grid ads. The following is a real conversation:

ME: What is that building over there?
SOMEONE: Isn't there a sign?
M: Ah yes… it's called University House.
S: So there you go.
M: What?
S: Its where the University is housed. It's an admin place.
M: There seems to be alot of computers around in there.
S: Well, there is alot of students. So clearly they need alot of people, on alot of consoles.
M: I… see…
S: Come on! Big Banana is on!

The Learning Grid needs to be advertised in a much more aggressive way. How about this…

Ah hell, I'm not paid enough to have good ideas.

In fact, I'm not paid at all.

September 2004

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