I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t usually think about Pennsylvania. To me, it doesn’t have any redeeming qualities. It’s cold, it’s boring, and it’s now famous for some guy forcing himself on other guys after giving them scholarships. I’m not planning a vacation there anytime soon, but I might consider taking a class or two at the University of Pennsylvania. Specifically, a class titled “Wasting Time on the Internet.”
I’m a writer for a website. Literally all I do, pretty much every day, is browse the internet looking for cool things to write about. I’m, like, the queen of wasting time on the internet. If there was an awards show for wasting time on the internet, I would be the Neil Patrick Harris of hosts. Seriously. I waste a LOT of time looking at Twitter, Facebook, various news sites, videos of babies dancing to pop music, and pictures of pugs in costumes. I could probably teach that class on my own at this point.
The course is called English 111.301: Wasting Time on the Internet. Here’s the course description:
“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.”
So, like, is there a way to just make this an online course? Possibly for transfer credit? I’m pretty sure that’s one class I could seriously ace..