'Wasting Time on Internet' Now an Ivy League Class

You get an A! And you get an A!
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 29, 2014 3:25 PM CDT
'Wasting Time on Internet' Now an Ivy League Class
A man surfs the Internet in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

If "checking social media, watching cat videos, chatting, and shopping" sounds like how you spend your time when the Man's back is turned, well, leave it to the Ivy League to figure out how to make it a chore. As Yahoo reports, the University of Pennsylvania is now offering a class in something most of us could have advanced degrees in: "Wasting Time on the Internet," and the above quote is straight out of the syllabus. But there's a catch: Students "will be required to stare at the screen for three hours, only interacting through chat rooms, bots, social media, and listservs." At the end of all that surfing, they have to pull "substantial works of literature" out of their Internet-hats.

The class is the brainchild of its professor, Kenneth Goldsmith. "I'm very tired of reading articles in the New York Times every week that make us feel bad about spending so much time on the Internet, about dividing our attention," he tells Motherboard. The web isn't making people dumber, he argues. In fact, just the opposite, but "there's this new morality built around guilt and shame in the digital age," he says. "We're trying to wrench an artistic product out of that state of distraction ... surrealists wanted to get unconscious, well, we're doing that now all the time." The class is required for creative writing majors. (Goldsmith also once tried to print out the entire Internet.)

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