Coming to the University of Pennsylvania is a class on how to waste time on the Internet. No, really, the class is literally called “Wasting Time on the Internet,” and it’s going to be an offering from UPenn’s English Department next spring. Students will spend the class pissing away hours of their lives and using that wasted time as inspiration for creating their own works of profound literature. Isn’t that what college kids do in class anyway, without the whole “creating works of profound literature part?”
According to the UPenn Department of English’s Website -which hasn’t had a redesign since the Clinton administration:
Live without dead time. — Situationist graffiti, Paris, May 1968 We spend our lives in front of screens, mostly wasting time: checking social media, watching cat videos, chatting, and shopping. What if these activities — clicking, SMSing, status-updating, and random surfing — were used as raw material for creating compelling and emotional works of literature? Could we reconstruct our autobiography using only Facebook? Could we write a great novella by plundering our Twitter feed? Could we reframe the internet as the greatest poem ever written? Using our laptops and a wifi connection as our only materials, this class will focus on the alchemical recuperation of aimless surfing into substantial works of literature. Students will be required to stare at the screen for three hours, only interacting through chat rooms, bots, social media and listservs. To bolster our practice, we’ll explore the long history of the recuperation of boredom and time-wasting through critical texts about affect theory, ASMR, situationism and everyday life by thinkers such as Guy Debord, Mary Kelly Erving Goffman, Betty Friedan, Raymond Williams, John Cage, Georges Perec, Michel de Certeau, Henri Lefevbre, Trin Minh-ha, Stuart Hall, Sianne Ngai, Siegfried Kracauer and others. Distraction, multi-tasking, and aimless drifting is mandatory.
It is awfully open-ended to say that a college student can use this time wasted on the Internet as “raw material for creating compelling and emotional works of literature.” Give a college Bro a laptop and tell him to waste three hours on the Internet, a lot of that time is going to be spent looking at tits and ass. Which is why I want someone, ANYONE, who takes this class to use it as an opportunity to write the most sexually graphic, grocery store-quality, erotica novel of all time. Spend the entirety of every class staring at pornography across all genres and fetishes. That’s what thinkers like Mary Kelly Erving Goffman and Betty Friedan would want you to do. It says so right there in the class description.
[H/T Motherboard via Time]