Thursday, October 30, 2008

iPhone as the Jesus Phone & Cult of Mac: Implicit Religion in Popular Technology

This week we will be exploring a unique example of implicit religion within popular culture by looking at how the iPhone became framed as the "Jesus phone" by bloggers, then the press and then how religious imagery was embraced by Apple itself in its ad campaign for the iPhone. In order to understand this phenomenon we will read these events in light of the "Cult of Macintosh" ideology which promotes a number of religious-like myths about Mac technologies and its users. To learn more about the roots of the Jesus phone check out the tech blog gizmodo who coined the term and have discussed the cult of Mac. Also check out the blog which is dedicated the the so-called cult of the iphone.

Case Study Discussion Questions:

•Why do you think the iPhone was framed as the Jesus Phone?
•How did the Cult of Mac myths contribute to this framing?
•What does the “Jesus phone” tell us about the relationship between media technology and religion in popular culture?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Kosher Cell Phone

This week we will explore birth of the kosher cell phone in Israel. The Kosher cell phone was developed in 2005 in response to the Ultra Orthodox community cry for phone technology that provide essential mobile services minus the problematic functions that might allow users access to questionable moral influences. Kosher cell phones have been stripped of video, web & sms access that might expose users to harmful content. They also bear a kosher symbol, indicating the devices are approved for use by a number of rabbis in their community. Besides the assigned reading, if you are interested in finding out more check out these recent articles: Kosher phone line to be launched, Partner to provide kosher cell phones and Israel's 'kosher' cell phone testing appetite for growth
Case Study Discussion Questions:

-Discuss briefly how the 4 categories of religious-social shaping of technology influence the emergence of the kosher cell phone?
-How does the Ultra Orthodox engagment and negotiation with the cell phone compare to the Amish response?

Bishop Fulton Sheen: Catholic televangelism

This past week's case study focused on an exploration Bishop Fulton Sheen as the first American televangelist. For your case study reflection consider the following questions...

Case Study Reflection Questions:

-How does Bishop Sheen's persona and use of television differ from or resonate with the Catholic theology of communication set forth in Communio et Progressio?

-What core values and traditions within Catholicism are central to their development of a response towards new forms of media?