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pop culture &pedagogy

Yesterday in my networks class I was talking about connection-oriented service in the network-layer one example I gave was ATM (Asynchronous Transmission Mode). I told them that ATM was really hot stuff during the 90's but was not as popular now. Then I said "It's kind of like the Alanis Morrissette of computer networks". Lots of people chuckled. I'm sure Ms.Morissette would have been gratified that so many college students still recognized her name, if only as a joke. Somebody asked if there was anything ironic about it, and I said "no, and neither is rain on your wedding day". Then I moved on to more relevant topics.

It did make me think of something ironic though. In my operating systems class, I was talking about the readers/writers problem, and how certain solutions led to starvation for the writers. I posed the question of how writers might be kept from starving. Then I said "Of course one solution is to have them write novels about good-looking teenage vampires." Crickets. I don't know if they didn't get the reference, or if they just didn't want to encourage me. But that's OK. I often complain about the deficiencies of today's college students, but I think ignorance about Twilight goes on the credit side of the ledger.

And the irony of course is that my students got the Alanis Morrissette reference but not the Twilight reference. Now that was ironic. A lot more ironic than rain on your wedding day. Maybe I can get Morrissette to sing about it.