I am the Canadian poster boy of high-tech attention deficit

So if memory serves (and mine is an unfaithful, insubordinate and much-abused servant indeed), a year or so back I was interviewed and photographed by CanWest media for a puff-piece on blogging. I think it came about as part of the run-up for Northern Voice 2006.

The photo was goofy, and I took an appropriate amount of ribbing, figuring I would just have to ride it out and all would eventually be forgotten.

So imagine my surprise when a friend mailed me a clipping that uses me as a laptop model for a wholly unrelated story, a story I have serious misgivings about. “You’d walk by other classes and see everybody playing solitaire,” complains one professor. If “everybody” in your class is playing solitaire during class you have bigger educational challenges than a surplus of technology.

I’ve been interviewed more than a dozen times by major media — newspaper, radio, and TV — and it is almost always an embarrassing, dispiriting experience. Then again, maybe that should tell me something. I’m reminded of Groucho Marx’s line in Duck Soup: “He may look like an idiot, and talk like an idiot, but don’t let that fool you… He really is an idiot.”

I guess I’m in some photo archive with the tag “laptop”, so I can expect more of this sort of thing… not that I have ever signed a release or given permission for perpetual use. Oh well, it could have been worse. I might have been the dangerous fanatic wielding a laptop on the front page of today’s paper, which makes the argument that terrorists will use city-wide wi-fi to bring us to our knees. Terrorists might also use our bus service to move about the city undetected — so I should be grateful that Vancouver’s transit system sucks, after all it’s for our own protection.

About Brian

I am a Strategist and Discoordinator with UBC's Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology. My main blogging space is Abject Learning, and I sporadically update a short bio with publications and presentations over there as well...
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9 Responses to I am the Canadian poster boy of high-tech attention deficit

  1. Jim says:

    The art of self-deprecating humor is not to be under -estimated. I love this post! I also love the way you frame yourself as a mass media whipping boy, when it is quite clear from that picture that you are pulling all of the strings. Keep up the positive press -nothing like aiding and abetting yellow journalism!

  2. “I guess I’m in some photo archive with the tag “laptop”

    Ah ha! the evil of folksonomies finally arises. 🙂

  3. Alec Couros says:

    Great post, Brian. That’s too funny.

  4. Alan says:

    Behold, the almighty distraction machine! It wrecks havoc and mayhem in our hallowed halls of lecture!

    What a riot… but I’d be pestering the newspaper’s editors by email about how they used a photo of you in a context without getting an okay. That ought to get some lawyer’s butthole puckering up a bit.

  5. Brian says:

    Jim, those ain’t puppet strings on my hands, those are scars…

    Steve, it would strike some as apt cosmic justice.

    Alec, go Roughriders!

    Alan, something tells me they don’t care, they must do this sort of thing all the time. But I did wonder if I could make a stink about this, I certainly don’t care for this representation of my image, especially given my line of work.

  6. Katherine says:

    You oughta make a stink. That’s just not cool. I know a guy who could give you some free legal advice…

  7. Beth says:

    This happened to me – not with a photo of me,but with one of my photos used by a newspaper without permission. I made stink here on flickr and got an apology.


  8. Brian, at times like this, I suggest (as would Mark Oehlert, I’m sure) that you should call in Chuck Norris – http://www.chucknorrisfacts.com/ . Legal action is not enough.

  9. Pete Quily says:

    So if you’re the poster boy for ADD, do you know about the 10 advantages of having ADD in a high tech career?


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