Still in Saigon.
Despite the Rushkoff thing, a host of hotel issues (I walked sixteen flights last night because all three elevators were out, and when I got back, housekeeping had left the door to my room standing wide open), St. Louis issues (bus fare=$4.50, wow, that makes mass transit so accessible), and quality of presentation issues (I just sat through an hour-long session with a really interesting, thought-provoking title that turned out to be a workshop on how to use instant messenger, sample moment: "You can even enter your own away messages. Some people, when they don't feel like entering an away message, type a smiley face."), I AM STILL ENJOYING MYSELF AND LEARNING.
Highlights so far have been the INCREDIBLE presentations by Chris Sperry from Project Look Sharp, Henry Jenkins (who really set my mind on fire with an amazing hour-long presentation on the implications of Wiki software), and Youthradio.org. Also, the bookstore here is jam-packed with amazing resources...I'll probably just abandon some of my clothes here in St. Louis so I can bring more things back with me. Just Think (of San Francisco) is also here, and it's inspiring being around them - they've been doing youth media production for a very long time.
But ultimately I can't help but think of that scene from "Good Will Hunting," where Will confronts the intellectual bully at the "Hahvad Bah" and says something like "You've dropped $150,000 on an education that you could have gotten for a dollar fifty in library fees and the cost of a bus pass." So, if you couldn't afford to drop a grand or so on hotel rooms, registration fees, meal costs, etc., here's a library card to some of the most amazing moments I've had at this admittedly very valuable conference. But I can't afford the bus pass. At least not in fuckin' St. Louis.
As of Tuesday morning, June 26th, you'll be able to download the presentation he gave this morning about Wikipedia (using Middlebury College's official rejection of Wiki sources as a jumping-off point for a larger discussion of participatory culture) at the above link. I am currently reading Convergence Culture, Jenkins' most recent book, and it's a wonderfully fresh and readable look at the same topic. Also, his blog looks incredibly enlightening in general. I have to ask myself...with blogs like this out there, is college worth $30,000 a year anymore? I'm inclined to answer "Yes." It is, after all, a great time to make friends. And make out.
Project Look Sharp
Immediately visit this site and download the "Media Construction of Presidential Campaigns" curriculum. It is free, entertaining, and hella enlightening. It can't possibly be as much fun as the actual presentation with Chris Sperry, who was undaunted by the fact that 8 people showed up to hear his presentation (they scheduled it at the same time as a "Leading the Field" working steak dinner where, I am told, lots of by-laws were ammended and such). Sperry's presentation skills are not unlike those of the wonderful Bryan Alexander. Dissecting the history of media construction of presidential campaigns with him is a process filled with "a ha moments." No, they're not "a ha moments." They're "holy fucking shit, I can't believe how stupid white people can be!" moments.
1 Part Steve Inskeep
1 Part Saul Williams
1 Tbsp. Expert Guidance in Public Radio Production
Add all three to martini shaker, shake, and serve in very cool container
Seriously, last night I met a young woman named Ayesha Walker, who has created some amazing stories that you may have heard on NPR. Here's one about Bathing Ape hoodies (this new Nigo-designed Batman joint is CRAZY RETARDED), here's the Youth Radio iTunes show. Again, there were about four people in this presentation, which was also scheduled during what I am sure was a very important networking opportunity.