Mar 2014
Josie Bungert

Power & Lights

A weird occurrence makes Josie think deeply about language.

This morning, I had my Mass Media and Modern Culture class that Amanda and I have together. Let me start by saying, Creighton people, take this class if you can. Do it. Dr. Dornsife spends the class educating us on everything in life and turning us into free thinkers. It is amazing.

Today we talked about how the absence of something can actually be louder or more pronounced than the presence. For example, if you’re sitting in a room and all of the sudden the air conditioning fan turns off, you will notice it. Often times, you didn’t even know the fan was on to begin with, or if you did, you notice its turning off much more than the normal noise that it emits. All in all, a very interesting and powerful topic that made us all think.

What was incredible, though, was how mid discussion on this topic, all of Creighton Hall (the building where my class is) lost power. My whole class gasped and shrieked, to a magnitude I can only imagine being louder because of the conversation we were having. We could hear the computer’s normal hums snap off, could hear the fan screech to a halt in the classroom’s outdated, wall mounted heater. The silence after these noises stopped and after the air had escaped my entire class’s lungs was not only apparent, it was deafening.

The idea that silence is more deafening than sound at times was proved in what happened when the power came back on. Since it was so applicable to our class discussion at the time, we all were shrieking, shaking, and just over all freaking out by what had just happened. My professor even joked that the class should just be over and we should all just go home, since we just experienced our discussion in full. The fact that we all erupted when the lights and therefore the noises came back shows what silence means, and what being in limbo in silence can do to us.

As I found out after class, it was an all campus power outage, that literally only lasted a minute or two. But that meant nothing to me, because this class has made such an impact on how I think of everything. We spend many class periods analyzing language, what words mean, gender roles, higher and lower order signs – anything to do with society we have talked about or will soon – that the fact that the power went off in this class had an extreme affect on me.

I don’t think that the power outage during this exact time and place means anything, per se, but what I did take away from it was the fact that power (sometimes literally) lies in language and how we use it. This, though right now is based in this specific example, can be applied in other areas of language, including writing (and this blog as a whole). Just keep this in mind when going about your business, and in exploring language in your day-to-day life.