Sunday, August 31, 2008

Quotes from Remediation (Sept 15)

Due September 15:

1. most provocative quote;
2 why/how provocative;
3. connection to any educational or scholarly experience and explanation.

Now, the first person posting will have virtual "carte blanche" since no one will have posted yet. Those who post after the first will have an additional task: connect your response to that of at least one other person, and multiple connections are welcome.

Likewise if you want to link to something outside of this particular blog, do:
is a review of the book you might find useful. Or not? ;)

18 comments:

Kara T. said...

Well someone had to be the first…tag I’m it. =)

The quote I chose is actually one I mentioned to others already (and used in the picture on our post) and I found it quite entertaining (if nothing else) b/c of the repetition of the sounds (the person after me…come on…just try and repeat it aloud 10 times fast).

“Remediation as the mediation of mediation” (Bolter and Grusin 55).

Besides the fun factor of repeating the word “mediation” three times in one six worded statement, I found this quote to be provocative because before reading this book I am not sure I openly acknowledged that media continuously comments on other media and thus need one another to survive. Sure this makes sense, but honestly I do not think past how the media is entertaining me or teaching me what I need to know for whatever reason I am using that media. I guess in a way I am not pushing past the surface of the media to analyze what else is beneath the curtain, which makes me a bit sad because I teach my students to “critically analyze” everything from people to movies to writing (their own and others) and here I am not doing it myself. Hm. But when thinking about the media I use daily or enjoy to use sometimes (but not daily such as movies or music) I do see and understand that there is a connection from one media to another… almost like Legos—one piece built upon the next to create a final finished idea. Legos can be provocative. ;-)
Ok, so maybe no, but perhaps skulls? I have examples here of some different mediations of “skulls” starting with Andy Warhol’s 1976 picture of a skull, which is a great example of pop culture from that time period and then a movie poster from Disney’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, which is about a skeleton (focus on his giant skull head)…fourteen years later when Disney decided to re-release this film Marilyn Manson did a cover of the theme song “this is Halloween” today this is this almost cult-like following of the movie with posters, figurines, clothing and even myspace page layouts (example four) and finally Rob Zombie’s Halloween movie trailer. To me this line follows a connection of pop culture from Warhol to present day with skulls/Halloween.

1.This is an example of Andy Warhol’s skull picture.

http://www.allposters.com/-/Skull-1976-Posters_i1813984_

2.This is an example of Jack’s movie poster.

http://www.allposters.com/gallery.asp?startat=/getposter.asp&APNum=1883576&CID=E090FD90C5144643A2C8916558EAF502&PPID=1&search=the%20nightmare%20before%20christmas&f=c&FindID=1908&P=1&PP=1&sortby=PD&cname=Nightmare+Before+Christmas&SearchID=

3.Marilyn Manson singing the theme song (this was done in 2007)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jU6iP0WLsU8

4.This is an example of a myspace page layout of The Nightmare Before Christmas

http://www.createblog.com/layouts/code.php?id=22159

5.This is Rob Zombie’s Halloween.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtR9Fxz2lng&feature=related

Kara T. said...

Oops!

For the first example here is the link:

http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Skull-1976-Posters_i1813984_.htm

Ignore the first link on my original post.

Kara T. said...

Oops again!

I forgot to mention why I gave those examples...

I wanted to show a quick example of my take on the quote I chose...and to make my examples come full circle, so to begin with an image that represents a traditional pop culture image and show how it was taken and applied to different media differently and bring it all the way back to something connected to a skull (such as halloween) and very main stream pop culture.

Ok, done I swear. =)

Leah Cassorla said...

My most provocative quote is (surprise) one I think actually acts against the authors' arguments and hides behind itself.

On page 245, the authors write about VR, it "...enable[s] us to occupy the position, and therefore the point of view, of people or creatures different from ourselves." They follow this up with a discussion of empathy through VR.

While I am often unsure what the "actual" position the authors take on this is, I do want to say that there is a problem with this premise that looking through someone's eyes is the same as being in that person's (or creature's) position.

While Gaze is certainly an important part of the convergence question (it is truly an important part of the whole cultural milieu in which we all function, and should therefore be part of the consideration in problematizing every technology), it is not the same as empathy, nor does it truly afford empathy.

The issue that the authors are, in some senses, ignoring when they speak of the promise of empathy through point of view is that of ideology. A change in point of view does not change the ideological point of view from which one looks regardless of the position of one's eyes. And so, while VR can move the user from the POV of the care giver to the POV of the baby, it cannot move the user from his or her ideological POV, and therefore does not change the way the view is understood.

Worse, by offering the POV shift as an empathic move, VR (and perhaps the authors) comply in the insistent invisibility of ideology and how it affects the interpretation of what we see. And yet, even this is a remediation of a television trend: I call it the fatsuit experiment. It's a popular way to get people to "empathize" with the Other. Two thin viewers who dislike fat people spend three hours in the makeup room and are "made fat" through the use of prostheses and a fatsuit. They are then sent out to go about their day and "feel" what it's like to be fat. The two come back reformed in their views. They understand how much it hurts and feel sorry for the fat girl. And yet, while they may now have some sense of what a day in a fatsuit feels like, they still have no idea what it's like to be the fat girl. And, rather than empathizing with her, they've come to sympathize with her.

VR, in this way, is just a fatsuit. It can promise the empathic experience, but it cannot break through the ideological weight that would make such an experience truly immediate.

For me, the academic connection comes because it was through reading Bakhtin and Foucault that I came to understand that rather than sympathizing with the Other, I must learn to see myself as an Other, and must look at my ideological standpoint from that view to understand the positions of those who are Other to me--that is I have come to an awareness that I MUST have awareness of my ideology before I can understand anyone else's, and before I can use rhetoric effectively to change the world around me.

Matt D said...

For my favorite quote, I’m going to go with the definition of medium on pg 273 (since a concise one never really came in the text, except the one that Kara found): “The formal, social, and material network of practices that generates a logic by which additional instances are repeated or remediated, such as photography, film, or television." Disregarding the final clause, which simply delineates three instances of typical media, I’d like to talk about the core of the definition.
First, I should admit that I am having some trouble getting my mind around the concept of remediation, and I think this definition may be the root of my difficulty. My issue is this: what keeps something from being categorized as a medium? To be banal- Is the way my parents cooked dinner not a network of formal, social, and material practices that has “remediated” the way that I cook dinner? What about my grandmother’s old lady driving habits- do they "remediate" the concept of driving? Is the way I do my homework a medium? It’s formalized, often social, and certainly a material practice.
The corollary stems from Yancey’s comment about defining literacy- if we include everything in our definition of literacy, then we have no conversation...that is to say, I think, that universal inclusivity in defining a concept eliminates the opportunity for discourse around/about the concept. So, if everything is a medium, what good does this theory do us? Somehow I think this boat may have sailed without me on board, so I look forward to Monday’s session...

Liane said...

My quote may not seem very profound at first glance and I wondered if I should choose another. But I decided to go with it for this reason: it made me think about the worst of us as a society as well as the potential we have to grow. And that's provocative. However, while it's relevant to my reality it may not be to anyone else's. But here goes...

On page 268 and 269, the authors talk about the news of Princess Diana's death eclipsing the coverage of the Mars landing, which made me cringe at yet another example of celebrity taking on more relevance than anything else for many people, and what that implies about our society. What made this example provocative for me, though, was the point made about the irony in the remediation: "In that all the media joined the paparazzi in their pursuit of the immediacy of Diana's death, few could fail to see the irony that the press, television, and the Internet were condemning the photographers while themselves providing absurdly inquisitive and detailed coverage of a private tragedy. Yet even that irony was absorbed into the media coverage."

It may not seem like much, but to me it spoke to our propensity as a society to acquiesce. We accept, we're apathetic, we're too busy to question, we live our insulated lives without really thinking about how our lives are made (good or bad) by the influences around us. We are bombarded with mediation and remediation and we process and move along. We have to, don't we, or be swept aside? But it's how we process that drives what we become.

This connects to my interest in learning transfer and to my dissertation topic specifically: how transfer occurs based on content in the writing classroom. Although I'll be looking at content related to first-year writing, it struck me that we, as members of a larger society, each transfer our knowledge, or perceived knowledge, as content to various contexts. We develop views or perceptions based on the remediated content we digest from any number of sources on a given day, week, month, year - then it gets absorbed into the reality we develop and transfer to our "knowledge" of other contexts. And the knowledge content we each develop becomes reality and is therefore mediated by whatever we digest as content in the first place, thus we remediate reality.

Jennifer O'Malley said...

1. Most provocative quote:

“There is no longer a rigid cultural hierarchy by which, say, a portrait in oils is always superior to an ink-drawn illustration for a comic book” (140).

2. Why/how provocative:

I feel that this quote is provocative because, for me, it triggered an internal argument. Do I agree or disagree with this statement? I think that with the advancement of technology the competition among media for superiority depends on what the user is looking for the medium to accomplish.

3. Connection:
During my time as a medical sales representative, my superior always encouraged me to send thank you notes to my clients that I had visited with during the week. On average, I met with 25-30 clients per week. In order to complete the task promptly, I immediately accessed my email and rapidly sent out all 30 thank you notes in approximately 5 minutes (Copy, paste, insert name, send). Unimpressed with my speedy efforts, my boss then instructed me to handwrite each individual note. I remember him referencing a Dale Carnegie quotation and then explaining that “handwritten is better.” He wanted me to handwrite 25-30 personal thank you notes per week? In an age where Corporate America favors digital technology and efficiency, what is the value of a handwritten note? Is the message more sincere if handwritten? Do the same words carry less significance in an email? In regards to the above quote, is handwriting more “superior” in this situation? in other situations? I believe, in this situation, there remains a “rigid cultural hierarchy.” After thinking about this, I thought about our discussion last week concerning assessment. Is there a difference between digital and written writing assessment? Some of us preferred digital, a few favored handwritten, and still others showed indifference. The broad range of responses interested me. It seems as though our responses, as a class, support the above quote—that there is no rigid cultural hierarchy. Therefore, could I have sent email thank you notes and still achieved the same effect?

In connection to Kara’s post, I also “see and understand that there is a connection from one media to another.” As these media continuously remediate, in an effort to obtain immediacy, could they actually neglect what they set out to achieve? I feel that in their efforts to obtain immediacy, media might dehumanize the “personal.” And perhaps this is why my boss so vehemently directed me to handwrite the notes, in order to maintain a personal touch in an age of growing inanimate communication.

Kelly said...

Most provocative quote:

"What is new about new media is therefore also old and familiar: that they promise the new by remediating what has gone before."

This to me is the most provocative because it emphasizes the desire for newness, that if something is new, it is inherently improved. We not only feel this improvement with the progression of media but also in everyday consumer goods (which is why the term "new and improved can be seen on everything from deodorant to dish washing detergent). Also, like a few others have discussed in their posts, this promise of the new using the old to start from shows its dependency on its precursors. There is no remediation without understanding the relationships between "old" and "new" media, which I think was one of the major premises of this text. And, I think this idea of the new still being old and familiar because of its dependence on the old stands true in any scholarship. In science, the discovery of the atom set the precedent for the discovery of electrons, magnetic fields, etc. In comp studies, we rely on the old ideas of process-oriented pedagogy to create the post-process mindset focused on the interior as well as exterior constructions of the student writer. There is no way for the new to be new without traces of the old, and these traces of the old allow us to adapt to the newness much more easily. Without the bits of old, the new would be too foreign, too strange, and a rejection of the new could be the result.

Leigh said...

"Because we understand media through the ways in which they challenge and reform other media, we understand our mediated selves as reformed versions or earlier mediated selves." (232)

This whole "blizzard of words" (my pop culture reference of the day; bonus points to whoever figures out what I'm talking about) really caught my attention for a multitude of reasons. Bolter and Grusin are making the claim that not only do we construct our selves by understanding media, but that we constantly remediate ourselves, as a medium does. This complicates the notion of self, and in a very postmodern way, implying that self is fragmented and best understood in relation to the media that defines our culture- we, then, cannot conceive of self without first considering the media that inform our lives.

Perhaps I am particularly sensitive to thoughts on postmodernity, the construction of self, and its implications for composition because in Comp Theory we are reading Faigley's Fragments of Rationality, which questions the challenges facing comp studies in the wake of postmodernity. The question of how one constructs and discovers self through writing appears to be of great concern to contemporary scholars, and, more recently, how the self is situated and defined by cultural forces. Bolter and Grusin take the next step to understanding the self as a process of remediation, as Kara points out, is defined as "the mediation of mediation". Are Bolter and Grusin claiming that self is a medium? Or are they implying that self is so informed by media that it is impossible to understand one without the other? I'm not sure, but this brings me to Matt's point: At what point is something not a medium? I think this is a valid question in the face of the claims Bolter and Grusin make about the nature of remediation, and the nature of self.

PS: Is anyone really surprised to see Kara's post was the first? :-)

Gil said...

Best quote in the book by far: "All currently active media (old and new, analog and digital) honor, acknowledge, appropriate, and implicitly or explicitly attack one another" (Bolter and Grusin 87).

Here it is, the whole point of the book summed up in one sentence, on a page that doesn't even have a number, in a space that is not associated with any particular type of media. This quote was so provocative to me because after 87 pages of theory regarding remediation, I felt like my head was ready to burst and spew remediation theory all over my recently cleaned living room, and this quote brought all of the theory into perspective.

That isn't to say that I didn't understand by now that all media is remediated by other media, but that this was the first quote that actually said, in plain English, that all media copies other media. Of course a quote like this gets you thinking about all of the ways that active media accomplishes this. For instance, I was half-watching the VMAs while reading remediation and I couldn't help but notice the remediation of teen magazine articles into Rhianna’s digital opening performance. In reference to the quote, I can only assume that this was meant to "honor" teen gossip magazines as partners in the MTV-Teen co-op.

I also had to think about ways that certain media attacks through remediation. For instance, it's not a bad attack, but some Youtuber's have made a parody video of the Twilight book series as seen here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxLHzx74lvk

Funny stuff!
Any-shways, that is my take on things. No offense to all of you closet Twilight fans, Edward rocks my worldz!

Also, I forgot to link my comment to one other poster and I have to choose Kara, our quotes are similar and so our posts are similar. I agree with her in that I rarely think about how media is remediating, I simply enjoy the media for the media that it is. Of course I notice little asides which, before reading this book, I would not have called "remediation" but I have never really given them any sort of deep thought.

Natalie said...

Since those who posted earlier have worked towards exploring the definition and understanding of remediation, I wanted to explore one of the implications of such a theory. For me, one of the most interesting ideas in the book is what happens to the concepts of reality inside Bolter and Grusin’s theory.

So let me pull out a couple of quotes here that relate: Ubiquitous computing works to “reimagine and therefore to reform the world as a mediated (and remediated) space” (62) “Reality and mediation have become inseparable off-screen” (194); “Television remediates the real” (194) “The Web is even more aggressive in breaking down the barrier [between physical reality and mediated presentation] and insisting on the reality of mediation itself” (210).

This has such large implications, in my opinion, that I feel I cannot wrap my head around them. In the summer during Dr. Fleckenstein’s class I cobbled together some clips of the UF taser incident from YouTube. I questioned whether there was a real, authentic “reality” to be found in this event. Each clip was an actual tape of the event, but each clip presented the incident in a (completely) different way. Does this mean that the reality of the event is indeed the mediation of the event? Is there any external reality to be found “underneath,” or—as Bolter and Grusin say—is my desire for an external reality connected to my rather flawed association with Cartesian thinking? When we think about it, is the “reality” we perceive of the world beyond our little FSU day to day lives simply a mediated presentation? I know nothing about what is happening in foreign countries expect for what is mediated for me on the news and online, which are of course incredibly unbiased and accurate outlets. Like the Olympics, the reality of the Olympics for me was nothing but a mediated presentation I watched on late night tv and read about on the internet. Doesn’t this notion of mediated reality seem a bit like a dystopian novel to you guys? Isn’t it frightening that this really could be what our “realities” are? Has anyone read “White Noise;” there are some very interesting postmodern, existential parallels there between how DeLillo’s character behave and how Bolter and Grusin say we behave. Anyways—one further thought—as Matt (and many others after him) questioned, does this mean that even the very fabric of my extensional thought process—my own modes of determining reality—are media as well? Can media be extended to my processes of thinking? It must be so if it can indeed be a commodity capable of (re)mediation, no?

Natalie said...

P.S. And to answer Leigh's question, no, I was not surprised that Kara was our first post :)

Katie said...

“When transparent media fail to satisfy us, opaque (hypermediated) media become necessary to our experience of ourselves. If immediacy were possible, if the self could become one with the objects of mediation, then media would not need to enter into the definition of self at all. We could then be just subjects in the world. But that utopian state is certainly not available to us today, when media are as much a part of our world as any other natural and technical objects” (236).
While I found this to be disturbing enough on its own, the full effect is helped along by an earlier quote that reads: “The excess of media becomes an authentic experience, not in the sense that it corresponds to an external reality, but rather precisely because it is does not feel compelled to refer to anything beyond itself” (54).
The dystopian nature of what we see here is rooted in the insularity that seems to have been bred through this process of remediation over the years. One example being Princess Diana as pointed out by Liane. While I agree with Leah about a changing pov does not equal a shift in ideology, I do not think that this is the frame taken by virtual reality. Leah’s personal frame of reference is itself too open for this tactic of “virtual empathy.” Instead, if we are to buy into this notion that true empathy can be acquired through another’s point of view we must acknowledge/permit some shift in our standards of reality and authenticity.
This is what I find so frightening about the quotes above. First, the excess itself becomes the authentic experience. While Walt Disney’s quote about the theme park being reality may be charming … it is true and frightening in the same way that we can learn to be better people through VR is. As a culture we feel the reality of these situations because there is no need to reference anything beyond what we are experiencing. Leah and others among us may have a hard time buying into this because, as critical thinkers, we force ourselves to reference beyond what is merely presented. This, I think this may be the crux of the dystopia. There is an insulating, repeating internal reference that constantly keeps us looking inward and gives us neither reason nor need to look out. And, it is in this context that our understandings of reality and authenticity become disturbingly warped … or (re)mediated.

S. Andon said...

“These encounters (wedding, rape, sex, and sexual deceit) all testify to the strength of the desire for immediacy in textual virtual environments. In these cases, the desire is not for the immediacy of the world, as it is manifested in linear-perspective painting and photography, in which objects of representation are supposed to become immediately available to the viewer. The desire is instead for the self: for oneself to be present to others or indeed to itself” (261).

Ok, forget for a moment the wackiness of MUD weddings and apply the last sentence to our current state of Internet activity. The desire is instead, for the self: for oneself to be present to others or indeed to itself.

Can't you consider the modern implications? Have you asked yourself what is the practical application of being on Facebook/Myspace? Or the purpose of blogging? Or Twitter-ing? There is seemingly an intrinsic need to take part in the online place, to be recognized (to others or to yourself) that you are part of the network. Businesses use social networking sites to maintain contacts(http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/aug2007/tc2007085_051788.htm?campaign_id=rss_tech), college students use social networking sites to interact socially (and often romantically - see the FSU master's thesis by S. Andon, 2007), and older people...well, I have no idea why older people are signing up and onto social networking sites at rapid rates.

Taking it a step further, we use social networking/blogging to represent ourselves in a very conscious way. Whether we direct that towards others or ourselves is our own prerogative. Connecting to Natalie and the UF "Don't Tase Me, Bro" Incident, the Internet allows for us to identify with or against Andrew Meyers/University Florida/police/John Kerry in a variety of ways.

We can blog it out, post a song to a profile, place the quote in our "favorite quotes" area, or, personally my favorite outlet, join a FB group and make a group membership identification. Here's a short list:

Seminoles for Andrew Meyers
Stand Up for Andrew Meyers
I Would Have Tased Andrew Meyers
I Support UFPD
Taser Nation: The Foundation for the U of Florida

If you desire to present yourself to others, or just want to present yourself to yourself...please, don't be afraid to remediate yourself in new and interesting ways. Go ahead and join one.

emily said...

Well, to be honest, when asked to share a provocative quote, I thought we were just sharing our favorite quote ever, meaning I would have expounded on something like “If you’re good and say your prayers, when you die you’ll go to Texas”—or something equally as powerful. Really glad I didn’t go first.

Anyway, I was rather taken in by the final passages in the section “Film.” Bolter and Grusin explain that, in order for a film to succeed, the audience is understanding of the medium as both present and transparent. The gentleman say, “[The audience] would have the experience of trompe l’oeil before realizing that it is a trompe l’oeil” (158). In other words, the viewing experience is made not only of recognition that a thing exists, but also of response to the thing that exists. Maybe I was drawn to this idea because I’m a fan of trompe l’oeil (remember that’s French for “trick the eye”). I remember the first time I ever experienced trompe l’oeil I was rather convinced someone had nailed a Ziploc bag containing a single saltine cracker onto a piece of green felt and framed it. Upon closer examination I realized that I was quite mistaken, but I was nevertheless enamored by the time, skill, and awareness contained within the oil paint.

If film as a media works the same way—if we view a Ziploc containing a single salty cracker and think even for an instant it is real—then we are acknowledging the transparency inherent to artform. I’d say it’s like Jenn’s post regarding the legitimacy—and perhaps efficacy—of a higher form. Much like taking the time to handwrite a letter, when we acknowledge a medium yet, at the same time, forget its power (for who can deny the power of a handwritten note), we are falling into the trompe l’oeil trap. We’re amazed to rediscover the qualities we forgot causing, in essence, the remediation of a medium we once knew and are encouraged to remember.

Jill said...

“The appeal to authenticity of experience is what brings the logic of immediacy and hypermediacy together. This appeal is socially constructed, for it is clear that not only individuals, but also various social groups can vary their definitions of the authentic. What seems immediate to one group may be highly mediated to another.” (Bolter and Grusin 71).
This quote is provocative because it addresses the inconsistencies of the seemingly ignored diversity in which we view media as “authentic”. The idea that the overarching concepts of immediacy and hypermediacy are manifested unitarily in each of us would ignore the whole context of the situation. Authenticity has different meanings for different people. In connection to Jennifer’s post, it depends on “what the user is looking for a medium to accomplish.” This end has a multiplicity of means based on the individuals that are associated with that particular media.
As Kelly said in her post, “There is no remediation without understanding the relationships between ‘old’ and ‘new’ media…” This certainly rings true when looking to the social construction of whether or not a media creates/represents an authentic experience of reality; it is an individual construction, whether solely alone or operating as a member of a group. If, as Bolter and Grusin mention, the internet is a remediation of the telegraph, and I am not familiar with the telegraph, then I would not consider the internet to be a remediation of the telegraph because I don’t have a basic understanding of its relationship to the current iteration. Simply put, we must be aware in order to make these types of connections, and this is an individual task.
As for the connection, one need to look no further than the respective news channels of CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News. On one hand, if you are an ultra conservative, then FOX News might represent more of an “authentic reality” to you of politics and the world than CNN or MSNBC. If you are more liberal on the political front, however, CNN or MSNBC might be more indicative of what your “authentic reality” is of politics and the world. Another perspective is if neither represents your authentic view of reality. These diverse views show how reality is socially constructed and quite frankly comes down to opinions based on personal and vicarious experiences to define the authentic.

rory said...

Quote:This is not to say that our identity is fully determined by media, but rather that we employ media as vehicles for defining both personal and cultural identity” (Bolter and Grusin 231).

I find this quote provocative because it explicitly states that media is influential and how we define and identify ourselves. In other words, we don’t have complete control over the construction of ourselves—at least some part (perhaps a very large part) is constructed via media. It seems that we look to media in how we define others as well.

I’m not sure about you, but for me: kinda scary.

I think Bolter and Grusin would be willing to state that despite this prominent presence in our life, media are still tools—that without humans, media would not exist. As such, we seem to be victims of our own technology. We have created all these diverse and intricate media, and consequently, they—in a sense—now dictate and govern our lives.

Like Natalie, Bolter and Grusin (specifically, the above quote) made me think of Don DeLillo’s book White Noise (I guess that is what I get for posting late—I look like an idea stealer). In White Nose, many of the characters look toward a particular medium as a means of validating their existence: the television. For instance, when the town of Blacksmith undergoes “The Airborne Toxic Event,” Jack—the narrator who, interestingly enough, founded a Hitler Studies program—is incredulous of the advice to evacuate. He states, “These things happen to poor people who live in exposed areas. […] The poor and the uneducated […] suffer the main impact of natural and man-made disasters. People in low-lying areas get the floods, people in shanties get the hurricanes and tornados. I’m a college professor. Did you ever see a college professor rowing a boat down his own street in one of those TV floods? […] These things don’t happen in places like Blacksmith” (DeLillo 114).

Even after a plane almost crashes during a routine landing, Jack’s young daughter Bee believes the passengers “went through all that for nothing [… because] the media” (92) wasn’t there to validate it as real.

It makes me wonder how Bolter and Grusin would categorize these characters. It seems as if the immediacy and transparency of television—as well as its ability to capture “liveness”—is almost harmful. These characters will only see events as plausible or realistic if they are corroborated through television coverage.

DeLillo wrote this book, however, before the advent of the Web—1984, I think. I’d be interested to see how his view has changed now that TV has conceded its throne to the Web.

As he states, “For most people there are only two places in the world. Where they live and their TV set” (66). I wonder if the rephrasing of “Where they live and their computer monitor” is not more apropos.

Ruth Kistler said...

For me, the most provocative quote in the Bolter and Grusin text is this: “[The] crowding together of images, the insistence that everything that technology can present must be presented at one time – this is the logic of hypermediacy” (269). I chose this quote because I think it fairly represents everything that is scary to me about the digital revolution (yes, Emily, for me it IS a revolution). I am someone who craves white space in every sense of the word. Perhaps because my life is so busy, I appreciate having the time to engage with ideas in a deep and meaningful way, to have the time and the opportunity to engage with a singular focus such as traditional media used to offer. When I was a kid I was always reading. Whenever I had a totally free Saturday (something of a rarity for me even as a child) I was thrilled to be able to begin a book in the morning, to spend all day lying in bed reading it (interrupted only by the required meal breaks), and to finish the book before drifting off to a sleep filled with dreamed sequels. Nowadays I would never have time for such a luxury, but I still want to be able to focus on one chunk of information or narration at a time.

This is not to say that I have failed to join the digital revolution. I have learned to multitask and to address multiple sources of information at once out of necessity, but I don’t like it. It makes my life frenetic and stressful. And now, when I watch the news on TV I find that same frenetic and stressful tone in the broadcasts. Why do we have to have headlines constantly running along the bottom of the screen when the on-screen journalists are talking about something completely unrelated? I can’t read AND listen to the speakers at the same time. As soon as I start reading I can no longer hear a word that’s being said (my husband, who gets very frustrated when he tries to talk to me when I’m reading, will verify this fact). So when both things are going on simultaneously, I have to develop a kind of schizophrenia, constantly switching back and forth between listening and reading and inevitably missing important parts of both, just to keep up. The “crowding together of images” makes me equally uncomfortable, especially when none of them are allowed to remain on the screen more than 3 seconds. It’s bad enough trying to capture a clear sense of a single image in 3 seconds, let alone several. It just makes me crazy and has led me to question whether the “logic of hypermediacy” has any real logic to it at all. If, as Leigh says in her post, “we […] cannot conceive of self without first considering the media that inform our lives,” then what kind of selves are we conceiving when we are informed by media that insists on presenting “everything that technology can present […] at one time”? While I am in favor of progress and would never want to become one of those people who fear or resist change, I still think it is worth considering this kind of “logic” critically rather than simply accepting it as just the way things are.