Docs and Geese


I’ve sat down way too many times over the past several months, determined to write a blog post, only to be distracted by one thing or another that leads me away from the goal.  Among these distractions has been getting too engrossed in reading the producers’ blog posts-- their writing just draws me in, and then I decide that I can’t have anything interesting enough to blog about compared to them.  I can tentatively say that I’ve overcome that stage, as I hope the rest of my team will (speak up, people!), so here I go, admittedly without a specific purpose in mind.

I think we can all agree that Google Docs has been a core part of this project.  When we’re all in our respective homes, sleeping, munching, pondering...there’s always this cloud (masterfully organized by Shruti) that connects us, constantly updating even when we’re not.  As an intern, it’s a way to figure out what kind of assignments are coming up, and once those are unleashed, a way to gauge my own progress with everyone else’s.  Even now, I’m writing this blog post on Docs in the omnipresent fear of misclicking on the CC page and losing all of my writing.  

Our latest project on the wild web of Docs was to write potential radio spots, and that was definitely a fun experience.  It was a lot more than just drafting my own paragraphs of words-- once I did that, I received input from the producers and watched as my fellow interns speedily wrote their own eloquent words, which all propelled me to return and rework my own spot.  I probably had one of the easier jobs on the team, as my topic was preassigned as “Walking on Lines,” with three related snippets.  Even so, there were several stances on the material that I could’ve taken, and I ended up scrapping my research on the Greek system for more conceptual writing about conformity in the 50s and 60s.  

Here’s a tiny excerpt from Penny Hanna’s interview which I really found interesting:
<blockquote>“So in writing, we had read an essay by George Orwell where he talked about how you could understand the psychology and the nature of, the character of a nation, by how they walked. Obviously the goose step [in Nazi Germany] was a good example.”
I did some scavenging for the essay she referred to, but couldn’t find the exact one among Orwell’s scores of works on political topics.  Still, I found the connection fascinating-- was the seemingly harmless tendency on the U of I campus to walk strictly on the sidewalks comparable to the military gait in Nazi Germany?  Obviously, there’s a discrepancy between the two situations, but the attitude of mindless conformity is transferable.  I’m not as well-informed about the Counterculture movement as a good portion of my team is, so this was one of the first times I really felt connected to the material.  Hopefully that feeling will no longer be so foreign, as we are soon delving into fine editing!


More on Beyond the Tie-Dye: Counterculture in Champaign-Urbana, 1965-1975


Meet the people who produced this project

CC by NC

Content License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.