Friday in 1994

You don’t need to be a fan of the series 24 to get the joke here.

I watched it and it immediately made me think that there is a kind of ethnographic method here, perhaps a class assignment: take a familiar case from the contemporary setting and explore it by setting it back 15 years. Change everything you can think of, what stays the same and what makes a difference? Could be a useful way to pick apart the difference technology makes. Or perhaps not, since as EB White says: “Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog; nobody learns anything and the frog dies of it.”


Christopher M. Kelty is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has a joint appointment in the Institute for Society and Genetics, the department of Information Studies and the Department of Anthropology. His research focuses on the cultural significance of information technology, especially in science and engineering. He is the author most recently of Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software (Duke University Press, 2008), as well as numerous articles on open source and free software, including its impact on education, nanotechnology, the life sciences, and issues of peer review and research process in the sciences and in the humanities.

2 thoughts on “Friday in 1994

  1. This is an interesting idea — but I wonder if students would be able to do this effectively — the humor in the video and the feasibility of doing the assignment depend on the viewer/student’s familiarity with the technological world of 1994.

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