Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Shame and forgetting In the information Age was a piece written by Charles Baxter. I interpreted the purpose of the piece was to inform readers that forgetting is a thing that everyone do no matter what it is or what it may be. When it comes to certain things people should not forget them. Now days with technology being so powerful people are definitely bound to forget things. Being shameful of what we forget is sometimes necessary, but on another note we shouldn’t be shameful of our forgetfulness, depending on our data we take in or experiences.

The piece Shame and Forgetting In Information Age was divided into five different pieces. The first part talked about Baxter’s brother and how he couldn’t remember anything but the stories people told and their faces. That was the only thing Tom could remember. His house was full of books and papers that had information on things that he used that helped him. Two sections of the piece talked about the Presidents for example, Clinton and his remembrance “remembering huge quantities of data but also seems to slip large sections of the past into the trash icon” (148). Another section of the piece talked about Walter Benjamin stories of Ms. Bartleby…….. A statement was made “In information age our representive figure Ms. Bartleby is rich in information and poor in experience” (150). The last two sections were just about memoirs and forgetting.

In the first beginning of the piece Baxter talked about his brother house, “The apartment was stuffed with written material, all the paper work of a lifetime……… because he couldn’t hold it in his head he kept it around and had to learn to live with it” (144). What this meant was that Tom couldn’t remember lots of book stuff so he kept lots of materials which helped him remember the things that he needed to remember. At that time Tom didn’t have any computer or technology devices around that could help him like now days that’s what everyone use is computers. So Tom learned to live with the sources he had and which helped him deal with his memory problem. Although one thing he did remember was people faces and the stories they told. He enjoyed listening to stories that people told which was an experience he enjoyed. That was Tom data that he had experienced on his own. So should he have been ashamed of not remembering data from books or paper work? I don’t think so and that didn’t make him dumb or anything different people just remember different things because of who they are.

Another statement in the story said, “How much memory have you got” (144). They weren’t talking about brain memory they were talking about computer memory. Meaning they depended on computer memory instead of the own brain memory. In this situation a person should be ashamed of depending on technology for memory and remembering things. What if this technology thing came to an end and we didn’t have any technology any more. A lot of people may end up like Tom and only remembering the things he experienced. They would have to go back to looking at paper work and books all the time if they rely on computers so much. That would be shameful for some if that’s the only memory they have is a computer. That’s why I said it depends on what type of memory you take in and how you use it can be shameful or what not.

That takes us to the quote “Remembering data and remembering an experience are two very different activities. It is possible that the quantity of data we are supposed to remember has reduced our capacity to remember or even to have experiences” (146). What this means is that remembering data and experiences are similar but different at the same time. When we as humans experience things it makes history for our memory and it is often hard to forget those experiences of memories we had because we took part of the experience. When we have to remember data or information from a book we forget that faster because those are easier to forget and we can easily go back to them.

“There is more information all the time. No one can absorb all the information” (146). What this says is that there is so much information in the world that no one take in all of it into their own one brain. When it comes to experiences they are different from other information sources because when you experience something you can only share that experience, not a book. That story can only be told by the one who experienced it. “What you remember is the key to who you are” (151). That statement is so true because Tom was who he was because of the things he knew and remembered. Everyone still loved him because of who he was. It didn’t make him a bad or dumb person because of what he remembered, it made him who he was!

With all being said my interpretation of the piece written by Baxter is still the same. Forgetting is shameful only when you forget certain things. We shouldn’t let technology be our way of remembrance all the time we should use our own memory stick that was given to us. Experiences maybe our only memory at times!!

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