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Harrison Bergeron/ Social Media: For Better Or Worse Synthesis Live Demo

D Block

Compare/Contrast the uses of media in “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and “Social Media: For Better Or Worse” by Zachary Sniderman

Both the short story “Harrison Bergeron” by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. and the news report “Social Media: For Better Or Worse” by Zachary Sniderman discuss media use. The texts differ greatly in their written styles. The short story is science fiction, and depicts a world in which rebels and governments often clash. The news report details the current and future state of media in the world. In both texts, the media is used by the public to freely communicate political complaints, with the government playing the hidden role of censor.

Vonnegut and Sniderman’s texts each highlight how media can be used by private citizens to voice compaints against the government. In the fictional short story, the main character Harrison is a fugitive from prison. He attacks a T.V. station and uses the medium to announce his political ideas. Here, readers see Harrison’s attack on live television: “A living, breathing Harrison filled the screen… Harrison stood – in the center of the studio… ‘I am the Emperor!’ cried Harrison. ‘Do you hear?’” (Bergeron, 52). Harrison uses the widespread popularity of television to state that he wants to be “the emperor”. This political agenda is made possible by the fact that television is watched by millions.

Just as Harrison in the story uses media for political purposes, Sniderman describes a similar phenomenon in his article. Sniderman writes about Glen Murray, an actual Ontario Minister, who innovates, with a unique approach to social media use: “Murray and two other ministries created a crowdsourced wiki to help create an official policy paper on what the government’s approach should be” (6). A wiki allows any citizen to post his or her opinions and complaints. As this wiki shows, there is great potential through media...
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