28 December 2010

The Age of Technology

When I was in high school I was roundly ridiculed for suggesting that we needed to call the times we live in something other than modern. Now, if by modern you mean new, up to date, fine. That is one of the meanings of the word. But if we use it to designate the age we live in, all epochs from here on out will have to be called modern and we will be unable to distinguish which age we are talking about.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica says that the Modern Age ran from 1450 to 1900. They, as did I, recognized that the age we live in is profoundly different from, say, 200 years ago or even the mid 19th century (1800's). Before World War I most of the world's population was rural. They had little by way of technology and social relations were much more traditional. After World War I life has become dominated by technology and runs on powered equipment. Now most of the world lives in large cities and people live from industrial and post-industrial jobs (if they can find one) and not off of agriculture. Social relationships are fragmented, fragile, and fraught with uncertainty. No wonder people feel unsettled, unhappy, and disconnected in spite of all our communications. We feel cut off from the past. People feel differently about the disconnection, but we all feel it.

We need to recognize at this point that the Modern Age is now over and we are in a new and different era. I will refer to our new era as The Age of Technology for convenience. In the next couple of posts I will discuss briefly what the change of eras means to us and how it can help us understand our circumstances and take control of them. In the background of my Angela series are the technologies that affect us and the social and political problems they bring on. The plot of each book turns on the main characters' ethics, which bring them in conflict with the interests who profit from technology at the expense of most of us.

One last observation: Technology is neither good nor bad in itself. However, like money and sex, it is very powerful and likely to be destructive if not handled ethically and with discipline.

Please visit my web site at http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/Angela1.html to find out more about Angela 1. You can enter "David A. Bedford" in YouTube and find the trailer for the book (not a very accurate one, but worth a viewing nonetheless) and a TV interview about it.

18 December 2010

Teenagers Reading More

I apologize for not posting in such a long time. We've hit the end of the semester rush at the University, and with final tests, grading, and graduation, etc., my time is all taken up.

The news last week was that teenagers are reading 14% more this year than last. That's the good news. The bad news is that a lot of what available for them is not necessarily good. The news article cited Twilight's one-dimensional characterizations, whiny main character, and clunky prose. It also cited Hunger Games, saying that it is well written but too violent for many younger teenagers. I was turned off to Twilight for the reasons cited. It just never grabbed me. As for Hunger Games, I really cannot bear reading an entire book narrated in present tense. Does one really narrate to someone else what one is doing as it happens? Not in my experience.

In Angela I attempt to provide in elegant prose a story suitable for everyone while dealing with important issues our country is facing. If that is the kind of thing you like, please check it out. Next I will be posting a series of three or four posts on the passing of the Modern Age into the present Age of Technology. In a real sense, that is what the characters in my novels are dealing with in a way that is understandable to everyone.

Please visit my book's website at www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/Angela1.html

03 December 2010

Misconceptions about JK Rowling

I read a comment on some blog that said that "JK Rowling is bad at sex." As proof the commenter cited that none of the characters in the Harry Potter series is divorced and that they all wind up with who they wanted. Well, now, that is a classic example of confused thinking.

To begin with, it is my understanding that Rowling is divorced and (I believe happily) remarried. She's been there, so why is she writing about faithful characters? She has the right to take the characters where she wants. If fidelity marks her characters, then she certainly has something to say that's all the more important and that deserves listening to.

Furthermore, none of the above is sex. Wonderful as it is, it is only a small part of a mature and loving relationship. Sex, like money and science, is a highly powerful force. Like them, it is destructive if not handled with maturity and an ethic. Rowling puts it in its rightful place, while recognizing its importance. Enough said about that.

Most of American young people have grown up in divorced, separated, remarried, and/or dysfunctional families. Is that good for us? No, not at all. I think most of the young people would like to marry one person and stay with him or her. Rowling is just saying it's possible, but not easy.

One more thing. I think people assume that everyone should marry his or her soul mate. That does happen from time to time. More often, we don't connect with our soul mate because we never met him or her or because the soul mate is the wrong age altogether. Marrying your soulmate can't be your expectation. But developing a lasting love-based relationship is within reach, with help of Him who made us. Usually real love costs.

Some books show life as it too often is. Others show life as it is sometimes and would be better if it were the norm. Give Rowling a break! She's done a wonderful job.

Please see my website at www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/Angela1.html