Great question from a kid

I know many of you have seen this before. It’s the ‘gorilla video’ which admonishes us for tunnel vision.

I showed this in class the other day in a discussion around how you can get good at making people pay attention to your message when creating media. My students, unsurprisingly, were mesmerized by the clip. And then one precocious thinker in my class asks me, “But, Mr. Lee, does media try to keep our eyes on the ball or the gorilla?”

It just blew me away. I love it when students ask questions the teacher can’t answer. What do you think? Is it the ball or the gorilla?

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4 Comments

  1. I love it too when they ask questions we can’t answer. My two cents: I guess it really depends on what messages you are being exposed to at any given time… In other words, it could be either- but that’s where collective intelligence helps us to see all sides of the story instead of just the one in which we are presented. As Jack Johnson says, “We’re better together” šŸ˜‰

  2. The ball, if you accept the nominalistic fallacy that there is such a thing as “the media” focused attention of necessity moves other things into the background. So those media tricks that direct focus (like, say a teacher in the classroom) make us pay less attention to everything else.

  3. Have you read Cathy Davidson’s “Now You See it”? She talks about this exact video as evidence that distractions can be good and should be embraced. There’s more to it than that but your students are on the right track. Jamie’s getting very close to Davidson’s theory.

  4. Dear Royan,

    I think the answer is the hidden messages or the McDonald’s insignia that is represented subliminally; Therefore, you could be looking at either and still be drawn in by the message.

    Alien thinking outside the universe once again…

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