Monday, September 20, 2004

Open the pod bay doors, HAL

The Phoenix, 09.09.2004. Republished with permission from the artist.

I love this cartoon from last week's Swarthmore student newspaper. (In case it's not obvious to the reader, "ITS" is "Information Technology Services.") At the risk of ruining a perfectly enjoyable joke, I'll make just a couple brief comments.
  1. This cartoon perfectly captures the dilemma support organizations often encounter when dealing with students. We strive to offer good client services, but the institution also expects us to take the lead on various issues involving enforcement. There are other organizations (e.g. the Federal Aviation Administration in the U.S.) which have the dual role of advocacy and enforcement; inevitably, these two strains find a way to come into conflict with each other.

  2. Also to be gleaned from the cartoon is the problem of becoming a faceless bureaucracy. The perception of I.T.S. here is that it's an anonymous other, a big brother figure. Faceless organizations are easy targets for the poisoned pen. I don't think that students' sense of shared community generally extends to include I.T.S. staff, whom they mostly don't know.

  3. Hey! How did we get to be the bad guys here? When did the animosity over P2P restrictions get transferred from the RIAA to the home team?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Eric. You are officially a Tool of the Man. In fact, you might even be The Man.

9:15 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

Okay, this is my job just down the road from Eric--and I hate it. Because I think downloading music is okay and I think the RIAA should just give up their old-school ways. In theory, the reason I do this job (slapping students for downloading), is so I can educate them about the reasons for not doing--and because I'm nice.

10:03 PM  

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