WELCOME TO

THE ELECTRONIC CLASSROOM

LEARNING CENTER OF THE FUTURE

by

SHERRI CAVAN

© 1992

THE YEAR IS 1995

THE PLACE IS SOMALIA

THE CAST

JOSEPH, born 1976,

NATE, born 1968

MONA, born 1952

THE SET IS A "PRIVATE SERVICE QUARTER"---A SMALL, CONFINED SPACE DOMINATED BY AN ENORMOUS COMPUTER SCREEN AND A KEYBOARD. THE ONLY OTHER PIECE OF FURNITURE IS A CAMP BED WITH A DARK BLANKET. THIS COULD BE A PRISON CELL, BUT IT IS A MOBILE LIVING UNIT FOR A MOBILE MILITARY FORCE. WHENEVER THE DOOR IS OPENED, BACKGROUND SOUNDS OF CHILDREN'S VOICES, GUN FIRE AND MUSIC ARE HEARD.

ALL THREE CHARACTERS WEAR DESERT CAMOUFLAGE FATIGUES AND THEIR FACES ARE COVERED WITH FULL CAMOUFLAGE MAKEUP. INSIDE JOSEPH'S SPACE, THEY TAKE OFF THEIR HATS AND THEIR GLOVES TO REVEAL THEIR RACE AND THEIR GENDER. JOSEPH AND NATE ARE MALE; MONA FEMALE; NATE AND MONA ARE AFRICAN AMERICAN; JOSEPH IS RUSSIAN-AMERICAN.

AS THE WORDS SCROLL OVER THE COMPUTER SCREEN, THE TEXT IS READ IN A SYNTHETIC VOICE OVER. WHILE JOSEPH IS STUDYING HE IS IRONING FRESH FATIGUES, WORKING OUT WITH WEIGHTS, CLEANING HIS RIFLE, ETC. WHEN THE COMPUTER IS NOT ACTIVE, A TURNING GLOBE SCREEN SAVER IS PROJECTED.



WELCOME TO



THE ELECTRONIC CLASSROOM



LEARNING CENTER OF THE FUTURE


THIS EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE HAS BEEN DESIGNED WITH YOUR EASE, COMFORT AND SECURITY IN MIND.

YESTERDAY'S COLD, UNINVITING CLASSROOMS WERE HARDLY MORE ADVANCED THAN GREEKS SITTING UNDER A TREE, IN THE OPEN.

TODAY'S ELECTRONIC CLASSROOM IS THE OPEN CLASSROOM OF THE FUTURE. IN THE PAST VARIOUS DISSIDENT SCHOLARS TRIED TO CREATE A FLAWED VISION OF THE OPEN CLASSROOM AS A CLASSROOM WITHOUT RULES. THIS DID NOT WORK. THE ELECTRONIC CLASSROOM IS A CLASSROOM WITHOUT WALLS. THIS DOES WORK.

A CLASSROOM WITHOUT WALLS IS A CLASSROOM ACCESSIBLE TO EVERYONE, WHETHER IN WHEELCHAIR, IN THE ARMED SERVICE, IN PRISON, OR IN PARTS OF OUR COUNTRY THAT ARE ISOLATED OR UNSAFE.

THE ELECTRONIC CLASSROOM DOES NOT REQUIRE THAT YOU PHYSICALLY BE THERE TO BE THERE. WHILE YOUR MIND IS ENGAGED AND EXPANDED YOU CAN TEND THE BABY, TEND THE TANK, ADJUST A VALVE, USE YOUR EXERCISE MACHINE, SORT FISH. STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT THERE IS HARDLY ANYTHING YOU CAN NOT DO WHILE YOU ARE THINKING AND LEARNING.

BEST OF ALL THE ELECTRONIC CLASSROOM LETS YOU THINK AND LEARN AT YOUR OWN PACE. YOU CAN TAKE A BREAK WHENEVER YOU FEEL THE LEAST BYTE OF MENTAL FATIGUE. NOT FEELING WELL SOME MORNING? NO NEED TO FEAR YOU ARE MISSING ANYTHING. NO STERN FACED TEACHER TO LIE TO. YOU ARE FREE TO EXPLORE THE EXPERIENCE OF COMPLETE FREEDOM AND HONESTY.

THE ELECTRONIC CLASSROOM DOES NOT REQUIRE YOU TO SIT STILL AND THINK, SO IT IS ACCESSIBLE TO THE HYPERKENETIC AND THE DYSLEXIC AS WELL. ALL YOU NEED IS ACCESS TO A MACBETH MACHINE AND SUFFICIENT ECONOMIC CREDIT IN YOUR BANK ACCOUNT.

SO LET'S GET STARTED.

FIRST, TYPE IN YOUR NAME AND YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER. BE SURE TO PRESS THE ENTER TAB AT THE END OF EVERY TRANSACTION.

JOSEPH K. 223-47-2329, BEEP!

HELLO JOSEPH. I SEE YOU'RE A WHITE MALE, CIRCUMCISED, 19, UNMARRIED, IN THE MILITARY SERVICE. YOU MADE A GOOD DECISION TO INVEST SOME OF YOUR MARINE CORPS PAY CREDITS IN EDUCATION. YOUR RECORD SHOWS YOU NEED FOUR MORE GENERAL EDUCATION UNITS TOWARD YOUR GOAL OF A B.A. IN ACCOUNTING. HERE ARE SOME CHOICES--*INTRODUCTION TO ANTHROPOLOGY OR *INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY OR *INTRODUCTION TO HISTORY

TYPE IN THE COURSE NAME AND THE NUMBER OF UNITS YOU WANT CREDITED TO YOUR B.A. AND DEBITED FROM YOUR ATM. DON'T FORGET TO HIT THE ENTER TAB AFTER EACH TRANSACTION.

INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY, 1 UNIT. BEEP!

GOOD CHOICE, JOSEPH. ALTHOUGH YOU NEED FOUR UNITS IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCE, YOU HAVE ELECTED TO SAMPLE DIFFERENT COURSES RATHER THAN TAKE ALL FOUR UNITS IN ONE COURSE. IF YOU HAVE MADE THIS DECISION BECAUSE YOU DO NOT HAVE ENOUGH CREDITS IN YOUR ATM, YOU CAN APPLY FOR A STUDENT LOAN TO MAKE UP THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HOW MUCH YOU HAVE AND HOW MUCH YOU WANT. IF YOU NEED TO APPLY FOR A STUDENT LOAN AT THIS POINT, PRESS 1*. IF YOU WANT TO BEGIN YOUR COURSE NOW, PRESS 2*. IF YOU WANT TO BEGIN YOUR COURSE LATER, PRESS 3*.

BEEP! BEEP!

WELCOME TO THE ELECTRONIC CLASSROOM, JOSEPH. YOU HAVE SIGNED UP FOR ONE UNIT OF INTRODUCTORY SOCIOLOGY, WHICH CONSISTS OF 14 LESSONS; A MID TERM AND A FINIAL, ONE OR MORE POP QUIZZES AND AT LEAST TWO THINKING ASSIGNMENTS. EXCEPT FOR THE POP QUIZ, EACH COURSE REQUIREMENT WILL BE EXPLAINED WHEN YOU ARE READY. WHEN YOUR ARE READY FOR YOUR EXAMS AND YOUR ASSIGNMENTS, JUST TYPE READY!

POP QUIZZES MAY POP UP ON YOUR SCREEN AT ANY TIME. POP QUIZZES ARE IMPORTANT TO KEEP YOU ALERT AND ATTENTIVE. DON'T BE AFRAID OF THEM. JUST REMEMBER---WHEN YOUR SCREEN SUDDENLY GOES BLANK, A POP QUIZ IS COMING.

THE INSTRUCTOR FOR YOUR COURSE IS PROFESSOR SHERRI CAVAN. HER RESEARCH INTERESTS ARE IN ARCHAIC ESOTERICA LIKE SYMBOLS AND SUBTEXT, BUT SHE IS A VERY EXPERIENCED TEACHER AND EMINENTLY QUALIFIED TO ORGANIZE YOUR LESSONS, EVALUATE YOUR EXAMS, AND ANSWER ANY QUESTIONS THAT CANNOT BE ANSWERED BY YOUR HELP BALLOONS.

IF YOU ARE READY TO BEGIN, PRESS 1; IF YOU WISH TO POSTPONE YOUR LESSON, PRESS 2.

BEEP!

WELCOME TO THE ELECTRONIC CLASSROOM.

EACH LESSON HAS ITS HELP BALLOON THAT YOU CAN CALL ON WHENEVER YOU NEED SPECIAL INSTRUCTION. FOR PERSONALIZED TRANSACTIONS YOU MUST CALL THE 1-900 NUMBER AT THE BOTTOM OF YOUR SCREEN.

NOW LETS GET STARTED. TYPE " START"

FART

BONK!

START

A SIMULATED IMAGE OF A PROFESSOR APPEARS ON THE SCREEN


HI K. I'M PROFESSOR CAVAN. I'VE ORGANIZED THESE LESSONS TO EXPLAIN HOW THE FORCES OF SOCIETY EFFECT OUR PERSONAL LIVES. THIS DISK CONTAINS 14 LESSONS, ARRANGED TO GO FROM SIMPLE IDEAS TO MORE COMPLEX ONES THAT BUILD ON THE IDEAS PRESENTED IN THE FIRST LESSONS. I HOPE YOU START WITH LESSON NUMBER ONE AND CONTINUE TO THE END.

DIFFERENT CONCEPTS HAVE DIFFERENT MEANINGS TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE SO I HAVE PERSONALIZED THESE LESSONS FOR YOU WITH PULL-DOWN MENUS THAT MAKE THIS COURSE RELEVANT TO YOUR LIFE SITUATION. LET'S START WITH GENDER: 1* MALE 2* FEMALE 3* GENDER NEUTRAL

BEEP!

I SEE YOU ARE A MAN. THAT'S GOOD. IT HELPS ME KNOW YOU BETTER. LATER WE WILL TALK ABOUT ETHNICITY AND SOCIAL CLASS AND YOU WILL HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO CUSTOMIZE YOUR TEXT TO YOUR OWN PERSONAL TASTES.

REMEMBER, IF ANYTHING IS NOT CLEAR OR YOU CAN'T FIGURE OUT WHAT TO DO NEXT, CALL ON THE HELP BALLOON. IF THAT DOESN'T HELP, CALL 1-900.

IF YOU ARE READY FOR LESSON ONE, PRESS 1*; IF YOU NEED TO POSTPONE THIS LESSON, PRESS 2*.


BEEP!

>LESSON ONE<

HUMAN SOCIETY

THIS LESSON CONSISTS OF 16 READ ONLY DOCUMENTS; 4 SIMULATED SEQUENCES; TWO INTERACTIVE GAMES; 100 TRUE FALSE QUESTIONS; 100 MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS; 100 SHORT DEFINITIONS; 100 MATCHING QUESTIONS; TWO WRITTEN ESSAY OPTIONS; ONE RESEARCH PROJECT FOR THE LEFT SIDE OF YOUR BRAIN AND AN ART PROJECT TO EXERCISE THE RIGHT SIDE.

DOCUMENT #1

SOCIOLOGY EXAMINES THE ETERNAL DRAMA BETWEEN THE PERFECT SOCIETY AND THE IMPERFECT INDIVIDUAL. BECAUSE WORDS LIKE "PERFECT", "IMPERFECT" AND "ETERNAL" CARRY HEAVY VALUE CONNOTATIONS, SOCIOLOGISTS' PREFER NEUTRAL TERMS SUCH AS "HEALTHY" "DEFECTIVE" AND "CONTINUOUS."

IN A HEALTHY SOCIETY PERSONS WITHOUT DEFECTS LEARN SOCIAL RULES. THERE IS A GOOD FIT BETWEEN ONE INDIVIDUAL AND ANOTHER. EVERYBODY IS INTERCHANGEABLE. THIS IS CALLED SOCIAL ORDER.

THE GOAL OF ALL HEALTHY SOCIETIES IS SOCIAL ORDER. TO ACHEIVE THIS GOAL SOCIETIES MUST CONTROL THE DESTRUCTIVE IMPULSES OF THE INDIVIDUAL. SOME DISAGREE, BUT STUDIES HAVE PROVEN THEM WRONG.

Nate: Yo, Joe. 'Bouta brewskie, bro?

Joe: Nate: hey guy. No way. I'm studying

Nate: Huh? Why?

Joe: I want to get ahead. I want to get out of the marines before I'm thirty Have a nice clean job and a pretty mate. I want to have a civilian life Nate. I don't want to get sent from one stinking equatorial third world country to another to protect economic interests that have nothing to do with me until I blow my leg off stepping on a land mine and get a pitiful pension and become grist for the experimental medical programs. No beer, buddy. I'm hitten ' the 'puter.

Nate: Asshole



>DOCUMENT 2<

THE STATE IS THE MOST EVOLVED FORM OF SOCIETY. IT EXISTS TO PROTECT THE INDIVIDUAL FROM ENEMIES AND OPPRESSORS. IN ORDER TO DO THAT RULES ARE CREATED. THIS IS THE LAW.

end of scene l


Scene 2

HELLO, JOSEPH. HOW ARE YOU DOING? DO YOU WANT TO READ ANOTHER DOCUMENT NOW? HERE ARE SOME OTHER OPTIONS: 1* YOU CAN ANSWER SOME QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE READ; 2* YOU CAN PLAY A SIMULATED GAME; 3* YOU CAN WATCH A MOVIE (FOR NINTENDO-COMPATIBLE MACHINES); 4* YOU CAN WATCH NEWS AND CURRENT EVENTS (FOR CNN COMPATIBLE MACHINES) OR 5* YOU CAN QUIT THIS PROGRAM NOW.

BEEP! BEEP!

LAW OF THE JUNGLE

AN EDUCATIONAL GAME

THIS IS AN INTERESTING GAME, JOSEPH. IT TEACHES US ABOUT SOCIETY, BUT IT IS FUN ANYWAY. FEROCIOUS PREDATORS PURSUE ANXIOUS PREY IN A HIGH RESOLUTION VIRTUAL REALITY WITH THE SMELL OF FEAR AVAILABLE ON ENHANCED MACHINES. YOU CHOOSE 1* MODERN AFRICA, 2* PREHISTORIC DINOSAURS 3* GHETTO STREETS OR 4* WARS OF THE FUTURE. YOU CAN PLAY THE GAME FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE PREDATOR OR FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE PREY. STUDIES RECOMMEND YOU TAKE THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE PREDATOR BECAUSE IT IS AN EMPOWERING EXPERIENCE AND ENHANCES YOUR SELF CONCEPT. ALSO, NOT ALL MACHINES ARE COMPATIBLE WITH THE UNDERDOG'S POINT OF VIEW.

Human Voice: Joey, Joey

Joe: Go away Nate. I'm playing an educational game.

Voice: It's not Nate. It's Mona. Let me in.

Joe: Hi, Mona. I didn't recognize your inperson voice.

Mona: Can I play with you?

Joe: No. I only have this cheap MacHine. Its a MacBeth Machine clone. It's OK for the electronic classroom. But it only has one joystick. If you want to hook up with a network you have to rent the modem and I am low low low on credits.

Mona: Take a break then.

Joe: I can't. I want to finish at last four units before I get sent back to Iraq. I want to get my BA and apply for a civilian job. I want to mate and have one or more children.

Mona: I have a sex diskette with a two handled Nintendo.

Joe: Is it an interactive diskette or is it just that old Mitchell Brothers you-be-Linda-Lovelace-I-be ---.

Mona: Mo' betta, Mouse. This is sooo new. This was stolen directly from the docks in Osaka and brought to Africa by dope smugglers. Joseph, it's hot, hot, hot.

Joe: Ah. What's it called?

Mona: It's called "Why Don't We Do it in the Road?" Joseph, this is two horny teenagers who do it everywhere. You get to score for how much clothing you remove, how many bystanders you offend and how many orgasms you have before the cops arrest you. And it has original Beetle's music .

Besides, you may never get sent back to Iraq. One of those Somalian teeny boppers may pop you a pensionable wound or two and you can win the disability lottery. Just think, no more camouflage, no more dehydrated dietary products, no more electronic classroom.

Joe: I love the electronic classroom . I was just going to play LAW OF THE JUNGLE.

Mona: Let's play sex instead. Come on, Joseph. We can interact.

end scene 2

Scene 3

CONGRATULATIONS JOSEPH, YOU SCORED 47,939 POINTS AT LAW OF THE JUNGLE . THAT CONSISTS OF 43 DIRECT KILLS IN WHICH THE PREY EXPIRES ON SCREEN; 107 MORTAL WOUNDS WITH DEATHS OFF-SCREEN; 960 PAINFUL BUT NOT FATAL WOUNDS. YOU RECEIVED 37 BROKEN BONES, OF WHICH 27 WERE COMPOUND FRACTURES, 129 SKIN LACERATIONS, SIX CONCUSSIONS AND LOST ONE EYE.

GOOD JOB, JOSEPH. THESE SIMULATED GAMES DO MORE THAN ENHANCE SELF ESTEEM AND DEVELOP HAND-EYE COORDINATION. THEY ALSO EMPOWER THE INDIVIDUAL AS A CONSCIOUS BEING, ACTING IN A WORLD FRAUGHT WITH DANGER.

YOU CAN REPLAY THIS GAME ANY TIME YOU WANT TO REVIEW THIS LESSON.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW HOW YOU COMPARE WITH OTHER PLAYERS OF YOUR AGE, SEX, RACE AND SOCIAL CLASS? 1* YES OR 2* NO

BEEP! BEEP!

EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW WHERE HE STANDS VIS-A-VIS OTHERS, JOSEPH. WOULD YOU LIKE TO RECONSIDER YOUR LAST CHOICE? 1* YES OR 2* NO

BEEP! BEEP!

OKAY. HERE IS YOUR NEXT DOCUMENT.

>DOCUMENT 3<

IN A HEALTHY SOCIETY RULES ARE ENFORCED BY PUNISHMENT. A SICK OR DISORGANIZED SOCIETY DOES NOT CARE WHAT INDIVIDUALS DO AND INDIVIDUALS DO NOT CARE ABOUT OTHERS.



>POP QUIZ<

JOSEPH K, THIS IS YOUR FIRST POP QUIZ. JUST RELAX AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS. YOU CANNOT ACCESS ANY OTHER COMPUTER FILES WHILE THIS QUIZ IS IN PROGRESS.

end of scene 3




SCENE 4

Nate: Joey Joey Joey. Let me in. It's Nate. Come on. Open the door to me. You're on that MacDamn MacHine again. You're addicted man. You are strung out on electronics. That is all, all, all you spend your credits on.

Joe: Get off my case Nate. I am improving myself by my own effort. What do you do? You transfer all your credits into the lottery.

Nate: Well I might win something and when I do I will be rich rich rich and you will still be sitting here trying to find enlightenment on a diskette.

Joe: I'm not trying for enlightenment asshole. I'm just trying to get a B.A. from S.F.S.U. and get a reasonable civilian job.

Nate: Oh man you are the asshole. Look at Mona. She's got a B.A. and a M.A. from S.F.S.U. . You're a private; she's a corporal. You're l9, she's 43. What do you think your ity bitty digitized certifi-kitty is going to get you?

Joe: Mona went to S.F.S.U.?

Nate: Yeah. In the '70s. When it was still a campus and not just a concept.

Joe: I didn't know that. Hey, Nate, I'm glad you told me that. I'm sorry I called you an asshole.

end scene 4

Scene 5

Joe: Mona, watch this and tell me if this is what you remember when you went to S.F.State.

WELCOME TO THE ELECTRONIC CLASSROOM. THIS SHORT VIDEO IS DESIGNED TO GIVE YOU A HIGH RESOLUTION, VIRTUALLY REAL TOUR OF YOUR CAMPUS. STUDIES HAVE SHOWN THAT STUDENTS WHO FEEL GOOD ABOUT THEIR CAMPUS PERFORM BETTER ON THEIR LESSONS.

YOUR CHOICE OF SAN FRANCISCO STATE IS A GOOD ONE.

SITUATED ON FOG ENSHROUDED SAND DUNES AT THE WESTERN TIP OF THE NORTHAMERICAN CONTINENT, S.F.S.U. IS PART OF AN ENORMOUS EDUCATIONAL COMPLEX THAT IS SUPPORTED BY BOTH LOCAL AND FEDERAL FUNDS.

STUDENTS LIKE YOURSELF PAY FEES FOR ACCESSING THE ELECTRONIC CLASSROOM. HOWEVER THESE FEES ARE A MERE TOKEN IN EXCHANGE FOR WHAT THE STATE PROVIDES TO ENSURE THE QUALITY OF YOUR EDUCATION.

LETS TAKE A TOUR OF THE CAMPUS.{SHORT VIDEO}


Joe: Is this like what your remember?

Mona: No. Well, only vaguely. I mean, when I went there in the '70s there were always students, everywhere students, students, students. You could hear seven different languages and l9 dialects in the student union. When you enrolled in a class you got there early and in person. Long lines of persons twisted in serpentine patterns all around the campus. Everybody complained to everybody else and they wished they could be someplace else. But it was a ritual of sorts, almost a tribal dance. That's how the semester started.

This is a nice video campus, K Joseph, but it doesn't even look like that any more. This is an antiquated video even if it is enhanced . When I was there last, half of the old buildings had fallen down from earth quake damage and half of the new buildings had fallen down from substandard construction.

Actually, it didn't look like Hiroshima-When or anything. Ivy and morning glories and even wisteria grew up over the rubble and cherry tomatoes and California poppies were growing in crevices too high for the gardeners to spray with herbicide. When they closed down all the offices secretaries abandoned their potted plants. Lab animals escaped or whatever. Anyway, its quite an ecosystem. But it doesn't look anything like your video.

Joe: No people there? It's a ghost place? Like Chernobyl?

Mona: Not exactly. There are about 1OOO administrators and their support staff in an underground bunker where the student union use to be and two or three senior secretaries in offices that are still barely habitable, just in case some person like me comes by. Actually, I did pay a visit to the Sociology Department, where I got my two degrees. It was really depressing.

end of scene 5.

Scene 6

THE SET IS THE REMAINS OF THE SOCIOLOGY DEPARTMENT. THE RUINS OF THE HUMANITIES AND SOCIAL SCIENCE BUILDING ARE VISIBLE THOUGH WHAT'S LEFT OF THE WINDOWS.

Mona: Charlotte? Charlotte? Charlotte, is that you?

CHARLOTTE IS SEATED AT AN ANTIQUATED DESK FACING A COMPLEX ELECTRONIC WALL, HER WRISTS, BACK, NECK AND SHOULDERS ENCASED IN ORTHOPEDIC SUPPORTS TO KEEP HER UPRIGHT AND FUNCTIONING.

AT FIRST SHE DOES NOT RESPOND TO MONA. SLOWLY SHE REALIZES THERE IS A PERSON IN THE ROOM. SHE DOES NOT RECOGNIZE MONA BUT SHE SEES THAT THIS IS A PERSON WHO ONCE ACTUALLY STUDIED SOCIOLOGY IN THE SOCIOLOGY DEPARTMENT, WHEN THE DEPARTMENT WAS A PHYSICAL PLACE AND NOT JUST AN ELECTRONIC IMPULSE. SHE RESPONDS WARMLY.

Mona: Charlotte, I can't believe you are still here. After all these years. It just blows me away. Who else is still here?

Charlotte: Well, its only me and Dr. Cavan. Everyone else has retired or taken jobs someplace else. So its just the two of us now. But she never comes to campus, or hardly ever. We're hooked up electronically, and then she's electronically hooked up to the administration and the students are hooked up to her. It works okay. Its just,---just,--- it's just impersonal.

Mona: How many students is Dr. Cavan hooked up to?

Charlotte: 60,000, 70,000. I'm not exactly sure. I could punch up those figures for you. I know there are more students than last year and last year was up from the year before.

Mona: 60,000 students. One teacher? I can't believe that.

Charlotte: That's not so many. Over at Berkeley, Todd Gitlin has l.2 million students worldwide. Most of Dr. Cavan's students are locals. I mean, they are all over the world, but they come to S.F.S.U. because they lived in San Francisco once. Or maybe they would like to live here if they can ever get away from where they have been sent. Local employers advertise on our electronic bulletin boards, so students still use our electronic classroom rather than the ones at Harvard or Yale, or Athens Georgia. They arehoping to get a civilian job once they get their degree and get access to the employment bulletin boards and the networking chat rooms.

Mona: Does the Sociology Department just offer one course?

Charlotte: Oh no, we still have a complete major with different electives and students can petition to take other school's electives if they like. Everybody who worked here left their classes---they are property of the state of course. They were made on state time with state equipment by people paid with state funds. So students pay their fees to rent them from the university. All the courses are all self-contained, with their own 900 number problem center .

Mona: Why is Dr. Cavan still around?

Charlotte: State law again. You can't run an educational program without a sentient being responsible for the quality of the program. Of course, she doesn't have to physically be here. Unfortunately, I do.

end of act l


ACT II

SCENE 1:

JOSEPH'S PERSONAL SPACE IN SOMALIA

>SIMULATION<

"SOCIAL ADAPTATION"

THIS IS A GENETICALLY PERFECT PERSON: (a bright yellow 5-sided star appears)

THIS PERSON FITS INTO ANY SOCIAL SITUATION PERFECTLY, ALLOWING OTHERS TO ADJUST PERFECTLY ALSO. (more 5-sided stars appear; they move about a blue field, setteling into 5-sided slots)

THIS IS SOCIAL ORDER.

SOCIETY EQUALS THE SUM TOTAL OF PERFECTLY ADJUSTED INDIVIDUALS IN A STABLE, HARMONIOUS NETWORK (as the camera draws back the yellow 5 sided stars in their blue field form part of the US flag.)

THIS IS A GENETICALLY FLAWED PERSON: (a 6-sided yellow star appears)

THIS PERSON DOES NOT FIT IN ANY SOCIAL SITUATION. (the 6-sided star bumps into 5-sided stars, they fall into their slots at odd angles; the 6-sided star trys to fit into a slot but it can't.)

THIS SINGLE DEFECTIVE PERSON CAUSES TROUBLE FOR HEALTHY PEOPLE AND THE BREAKDOWN IN SOCIETY FOR EVERYONE.

STUDIES LIKE THE GENOME MAPPING PROJECT HAVE IDENTIFIED 1000S OF DEFECTIVE HUMAN GENES AND ENLIGHTENED SOCIAL POLICIES---LIKE PROJECT GENECTONOMY---EXIST TO NIP DEFECTIVE GENES IN THE FETUS, TO TRANSFORM SIX SIDED GENES INTO FIVE SIDED GENES AND HENCE ENHANCE THE QUALITY OF LIFE FOR ALL.

HOW ARE YOU DOING JOSEPH? *1 WOULD YOU LIKE TO ANSWER SOME QUESTIONS? *2 WOULD YOU LIKE TO PLAY A GAME? *3 WOULD YOU LIKE TO QUIT THE PROGRAM?

BEEP! BEEP!

>THE GENECTOMY GAME<

HEY, PLAYER. SOCIETY'S RESOURCES ARE ALWAYS IN SHORT SUPPLY. NOT EVERYBODY AGREES WHICH DEFECTS ARE THE MOST HARMFUL TO SOCIETY AND WHICH DEFECTS ARE LOW PRIORITY. THIS GAME LETS YOU APPLY YOUR OWN VALUES TO THE GENECTOMY PROJECT. SYMBOLS AND WORDS ASSOCIATED WITH GENETIC DEFECTS ARE INSCRIBED ON THE ARMS OF FETUSES. AS THEIR EMBRYONIC SACS FLOAT ACROSS YOUR SCREEN, USE YOUR JOYSTICK TO ZAP THE MOST OFFENSIVE. BE CAREFUL NOT TO HIT INNOCENT BYSTANDER GENES OR DAMAGE HEALTHY FETUSES. YOUR SCORE WILL BE TRANSLATED INTO A PICTURE OF THE FUTURE, SHOWING WHAT KIND OF SOCIETY YOUR GENECTOMY MARKSMANSHIP WOULD PRODUCE.

YOU CAN CUSTOMIZE THIS GAME BY SELECTING YOUR OWN ETHNIC PERSPECTIVE:

*1 ORDINARY 'MERICAN *2 PERSON OF COLOR

BEEP!

FETUSES WITH VARIOUS "HATE WORDS" TATOOED ON THEIR ARM FLOAT BY IN THEIR EMBRYONIC SACS; WHEN JOSEPH ACTIVATES HIS "JOYSTICK" A LATEX GLOVED HAND APPEARS ON THE SCREEN AND EITHER NIPS OFF THE TATTOO, RIPS OFF THE ARM; SQUASHES THE SACS OF FETUSES WITHOUT TATTOOS, ETC.

WHILE JOSEPH IS LOST IN HIS GAME, MONA ENTERS AND WATCHES HIM.

Mona: I can't believe you are playing that game. I can't believe Dr. Cavan would put something like that in her course. What a hypocrite. She always taught from the perspective of the underdog and now all you can access is the authorities' point of view.

Joe: Hey, Mona, lighten up. There was a menu. I chose the 'Merican point of view. I could have selected Person of Color.

Mona: Joey, Joey, Joey. You don't understand. Personalizing the text with standardized options doesn't challenge the text's assumptions. And it sure doesn't challenge you. Here, let me at that keyboard.

Joe: Watch out Mona. You can't do that. I'm the one who signed on.

Mona: Who says I can't do that? Anything not prohibited is permitted. Gi'me that mouse, Mouse.

MONA CHANGES THE PERSPECTIVE OPTION AND A NEW SET OF FETUSES WITH DIFFERENT "DEFECTS" APPEAR, BIGOTRY, SEGREGATION, KKK, COLONIALISTS, SEXISM, ETC.

MONA DOESN'T ZAP ANY OF THEM.

BONG! HEY JOSEPH, I SEE YOU HAVE MISSED THE POINT OF THIS GAME. PLEASE PRESS # TO REVIEW THE RULES.

END SCENE 1

SCENE 2

JOE AND MONA ARE LYING ON THE NARROW COT, HOLDING THE NINTENDO BETWEEN THEM. TWO SETS OF WIRES EXTEND FROM THE MACHINE AND ARE DISCRETELY ATTACHED TO THEIR GENITALS. BOTH ARE IN FULL CAMOFLAGE FATIGUES. THEY HAVE BEEN CAREFUL NOT TO SMUDGE THEIR MAKEUP, ALTHOUGH THEIR HAIR HAS BECOME TANGLED AND DISORDERED.

Joe: Usually I don't like those you-be-her-and-I-be-he or whatever safe sex diskettes. But this was pretty good.

Mona: Class, Joseph, class. This was an enhanced adaptation of Robert Graves translation of the Greek myths. Now, when you were Zeus and I was Herra, that was really something; and when you were Psyche and I was Cupid, that was such sweet safe sex that I almost gave myself over to tears, but of course I didn't want to muss my makeup because I have to go back on duty later tonight.

SILENCE.

Mona: I know you play sex games with Nate, too. It's no big deal to me, K Joseph. Sometimes Nate and I play too. If it's safe sex it's safe sex and it doesn't matter who your partner is.

Joe: I've never had any other kind of sex, but I've always been monogamous, at least in any one pixel of time and space.

SILENCE.

Joe: Is it true that before safe sex people actually put their bodily parts into other peoples orifices, naked?

Mona: Yes, it's true. And they exchanged bodily fluids, semen, cum, saliva, sweat.....

Joe: Oh, god Mona, cut it out. That is so so so disgusting. I just can't deal with it. Yuck, yuck, yuck.

Mona: Well, duck, you-be-Achilles-and-I-be-Patroclus?

Joe: Is that all you ever think about, sex games? Don't you have any aspirations? Don't you have a passion for something more than virtual bodily gratification?

Mona: Well as a matter of fact I do. I collect contemporary California ceramic sculpture.

Joe: I don't believe that. Where is it? In your service quarter?

Mona: No, its in my storage space in Hunter's Point.

Joe: You can't afford the taxes on real art on your military service credits.

Mona: Well I don't pay those taxes, Mr. Fancy Fatigues.

Joe: Everybody pays taxes, Mona. Once a year the infrared scanners scan every enclosed space, inventory the contents, send the owner or renter a tax bill. That's the law.

Mona: But the scanners have to decode those infrared images. If my storage space was in a high rent, intellectual zip code the images might register "art" . Then if I didn't pay the bill the authorities would confiscate the contents. But in the ghetto, that pile of clay-- Robert Arneson, Viola Fry, Tebby George, Bill Farnan-- in the ghetto that pile of clay decodes as "grandmother's dishes" "flower pots" and "misc. junk." My ceramics just fall through the cracks of the authorities' electronic tracking system. So there!

Joe: What do you do with all that stuff?

Mona: When I'm lucky enough to be in S.F. I just sit there in my storage space and look at it. When I'm someplace else I think about it.

Joe: But what are you going to do with all that stuff? If you never pay taxes on them you can't sell them. Well, maybe you could if your found a dope dealer or a hit man with real cash and your taste in art.

Mona: I don't look very far into the future, Joey. There's too much happening in the present. Interested in some more virtual gratification? Ready?

End scene 2


Scene 3

READY!

TESTING IS GOOD. IT LETS US KNOW HOW YOU ARE DOING AND WHERE YOU NEED IMPROVEMENT.

EVERYONE IS TESTED THROUGHOUT THEIR LIFE, FROM THE TIME THEY ARE A LITTLE FETUS UNTIL THE TIME THEIR ASHES ARE ASSESSED FOR THEIR pH FACTOR.

SOMETIMES PEOPLE ARE SCARED OF TESTING, AFRAID THEY WILL FAIL OR WORSE. THE ELECTRONIC CLASSROOM IS THE LEARNING CENTER OF THE FUTURE. IT RECOGNIZES HOW ANXIETY CAN CONTAMINATE YOUR TRUE SCORE. SO YOU HAVE OPTIONS, JOSEPH. YOU CAN CUSTOMIZE YOUR OWN LEARNING EXPERIENCE. YOU CAN SELECT 1* A MULTIPLE CHOICE EXAM 2* A TRUE-FALSE EXAM 3* A MATCHING TEST 4* A WRITTEN ESSAY.

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

GOOD CHOICE, JOSEPH. NOT EVERYONE YOUR AGE, SEX AND SOCIAL CLASS OPTS FOR A WRITTEN ESSAY FOR THEIR FIRST EXAM, OR AT ALL. THIS PULL DOWN MENU GIVES YOU SOME CHOICES RELEVANT TO YOUR LIFE. SELECT ONE AND EXPLAIN HOW YOUR CHOICE IS RELATED TO PROBLEMS OF SOCIAL ORDER.

l* GANGS 2* PRISON

THE STAGE DARKENS; THE SCREEN FLICKERS; WORDS APPEAR ON THE COMPUTER SCREEN AND THEY ARE DELETED. WHEN THE LIGHTS COME UP JOE IS TALKING WITH A PHONE. NATE IS SEATED BY THE DOOR.

Phone: Welcome to the problem center for the electronic classroom, learning center of the future. This service is available as a part of your interactive video learning course. Your first question is included in your tuition fees. All other calls are charged at $3.50 a minute. If you cannot afford this service, please hang up now. Otherwise punch in your social security number and the course number you need help with and wait on the line. Your call will be answered in the order in which it was received.

17 BEEPS!

Silence. Joseph frets. He looks at his watch.

Phone: This is the distance learning problem center for Introduction to Sociology. For questions about course requirements, press *l for questions about the your last assignment, press *2 for questions about your present assignment, press *3 for questions about your next assignment, press *4.

BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!

Phone: Your present assignment asks you to apply some of the ideas you have learned in this course to your personal life---for example, how social class limits our opportunities and our options for resources. Please state your problem clearly and succinctly. Be sure to emphasize the key concepts. When you have finished expressing your problem, press the # button. Beep.

Joe: (ahem...) My name is Joseph K. I'm enrolled in Professor Cavan's class at San Francisco State, but I'm stationed here in Somalia, and I hope to get my B.A. before I get transferred back to Iraq. I'm writing about gangs and I want to know how to apply that idea to my situation here in Somalia. I mean those Somalian adolescents---taking drugs and shooting guns---I can see them as a gang. But I can also see how my marine platoon is like a gang. Is it okay to write like that? I mean, will I get credit if I do that? Will it scan? How do I start?

Beep!

Phone: Gangs are a very important social problem in today's world. By understanding how gangs are formed and how they control their members attitudes and behavior, we move toward eliminating this threat to the quality of life. Your idea is a good one. Be sure to review all the relevant documents on your diskette and properly cite your sources. Any further questions, redial the problem center; otherwise press # to complete your call. This transaction will be digitized and become a part of your permanent record.

Beep!

Phone: This ends your personal transaction with the problem center.

*For Christian students, God Bless You.

*For Muslim students, Inshalla

*For agnostics, atheists, and all others, Hang in There.

JOSEPH HANGS UP

Joseph: Shit, shit, shit shit. This was my third 1-900 call and I still didn't get an answer. Every time I call with a problem they eat up my credits. Every time I procrastinate with my lessons or put off taking my exams, I go over the time limit and have to renew my fees to finish the course. More debits for more credits. By the time I finish one unit I have paid for four. Or more. This system is fucked.

Nate: Oh Joey, you noticed. Very observant, Bro'.

Joe (defensively.) Just because it's fucked don't mean it doesn't work. It doesn't mean that it's not the best system in the world. It just has a flaw.

Nate: You immigrants are all the same. Come to America from Russia or Taiwan or Guatemala, whatever and you think Mt. Rushmore is Mt. Olympus. Really! Us natives--we're born cynical.

Joe: Mona's had plenty of chances. She's black. She's bi. She's not even a guy. She's got two degrees and plenty of smarts.

Nate: Mona was born into a middle class family. She's on the skids man. She's never going to have what her parents had, even if what her parents had is less than what your parents would have had if they had migrated to America at the end of the l9th century instead of the end of the 20th century. If she stays in the military until she's 60---or if she gets a medical disability---she can live in a civilian space. If she's lucky she'll figure out some cottage industry that is not prohibited and still brings in some discretionary credits so she can buy a good time. Dismal. Her family had some dreams. They could afford to have one or more children, educate them, buy books, nice clothes, take a vacation to Barbados or at least visit Disneyland.

Joe: Mona's bi, Nate. Why would she want to have children?

Nate: Sweet Joey, just because a person is bi or gay doesn't mean they don't want to have kids. And just because a person is straight doesn't mean that they do. Grow up, Kiddo. Your ideas are right out of the old world order..

end of scene 3

Scene 4

>DOCUMENT 5<

NOT ALL DEFECTIVE FETUSES ARE PER-FECTED BEFORE BIRTH. LIKE THE GAME YOU PLAYED, SOME SLIP THROUGH THE CRACKS. NO MATTER WHAT PARENTS OR OTHER AUTHORITIES DO, SOME CHILDREN GROW UP ANGRY AND RESENTFUL. THESE ARE CHILDREN WHOSE GENETIC MAKE-UP PRECLUDES THEIR ABILITY TO LEARN SOCIAL RULES. THEY ARE HUMAN, BUT SADLY DEFECTIVE.

>THE NORMAL AND THE PATHALOGICAL<

THIS MULTI-MEDIA ADAPTATION PROVIDES AN ENHANCED DRAMATIZATION OF WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PEOPLE CANNOT LEARN SOCIAL RULES.

{SIMULATED SCENES}

A MOTHER AND A CHILD WALK DOWN A GROCERY STORE AISLE. THE CHILD TAKES SOMETHING OFF THE SHELF. THE MOTHER TURNS, SEES WHAT THE CHILD HAS DONE. THE COMPUTER ASKS, WHAT SHOULD THIS MOTHER DO IN THIS SITUATION?

*1 INSTANT NEGATIVE REINFORCEMENT

*2 RETURN THE ITEM TO THE SHELF AND EXPLAIN THE RULES OF SHOPPING AND THE ROLE OF CREDITS IN THE DETERMINATION OF PURCHASING POWER, AS WELL AS HOW THEFT LEADS TO PRISON.

*3 RETURN THE ITEM AND JUST SAY NO.

NOW LETS SEE WHAT HAPPENS FOR EACH CHOICE

*1 AN OLDER CHILD IS WALKING DOWN THE AISLE; STARTS TO REACH FOR SOMETHING, A MEMORY BALLOON SHOWS HIS PARENT SLAPPING HIM) HE PUTS HIS HANDS IN HIS POCKETS AND WALKS ON

*2 ANOTHER OLDER CHILD IS WALKING DOWN THE STREET. SHE STARTS TO SPRAY GRAFFITI; A MEMORY BALLOON SHOWS HER PARENT LECTURING TO HER AND THEN SENDING HER TO PRISON. SHE PUTS HER HANDS IN HER POCKETS AND WALKS ON.

*3 SHOWS 30 SECOND FILM OF STUDENT DEMONSTRATIONS FROM S.F.S.U. 1969-70

SO YOU SEE, JOSEPH, WHAT WE DO NOT CONTROL IN THE LABORATORY WE MUST CONTROL ON THE STREETS, AT GREATER ECONOMIC COSTS AND WITH A GREATER PROBABILITY OF INNOCENT BYSTANDERS BEING HURT.


NOTICE

THIS COMPLETES PART 1 OF INTRODUCTION TO SOCIOLOGY. BECAUSE YOU HAVE NOT COMPLETED ANY ASSIGNMENT OR EXAM, TO KEEP YOUR SPACE IN THE ELECTRONIC CLASSROOM. YOU MUST RESUBSCRIBE AT A 30% DISCOUNT. PRESS *1 IF YOU HAVE SUFFICIENT ATM CREDITS TO COMPLETE THIS COURSE. PRESS *2 IF YOU NEED TO APPLY FOR A STUDENT LOAN. PRESS *3 IF YOU WANT TO QUIT THE PROGRM AND TAKE AN INCOMPLETE. TO MAKE UP AN INCOMPLETE, YOU MUST RESUBSCRIBE AT FULL PRICE.

CURTAIN