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The Wednesday Five

1.

Queen Elizabeth II, Star of Netflix’s The Crown

The biggest TV premiere events this season have women as their central stories. These include Netflix’s much-anticipated Gilmore Girls reboot and TNT’s thriller called Good Behavior starring Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery. And, Netflix’s The Crown is a historical drama that examines the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, played by the wide-eyed Claire Foy. The show’s creators have envisioned six seasons spanning Elizabeth’s entire reign. In her article for Vulture, “Why Should I Care About Queen Elizabeth II, Star of Netflix’s The Crown,?” Kathryn VanArendonk writes:

Elizabeth is a prime example of how we use notable people to talk about bigger cultural narratives in the modern era — the very length of her reign, at this point, gives her about as many years of material as the longest-running daytime soaps. And as a result of simply being a human in a human family, we have lots of grist for the narrative mill. Changing attitudes toward divorce and remarriage, toward formality, toward the media and notoriety, toward love and propriety: All of them are readily available plots about the world that we can find and examine and tear apart within the royal family. Even better, Elizabeth’s age now lets us examine who we are today against a previous generation’s paradigm of the world.

 

 

2.

Technology and Our Values

Earlier this year, our Jane Moffett wrote in “What Can We Do About Cell Phone Incivility“:

As smart as smartphones are, cell phones and social media seem to be pushing us toward quantity (number of exchanges) versus quality (the richness of these exchanges). Simple moments of reverie or sharing in thoughtful conversation can be lost to multiple incoming messages and emails or the intrusions of cell phone chatter around us.

This week, The Atlantic‘s Bianca Bosker wrote a profile on Tristan Harris, “the closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience. As the co‑founder of Time Well Spent, an advocacy group, he is trying to bring moral integrity to software design: essentially, to persuade the tech world to help us disengage more easily from its devices.” Harris believes that iPhones are so addictive that he’s called it “a slot machine in my pocket.”

Hyperbole aside, what Harris is asking us to be more aware of are the following questions: How often does technology interrupt us from what we really mean to be doing? At work and at play, do we spend a startling amount of time distracted by pings and pop-ups? In addition to the article in The Atlantic, Harris’ TED Talk offered  thoughtful new ideas for technology that creates more meaningful interaction. He asks: “What does the future of technology look like when you’re designing for the deepest human values?”

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