Kirschenbaum and Beckett

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Kirschenbaum preface/introduction

"was the text's illicit dissemination online the point of the project from the very start, or did Gibson and the others originally imagine it as an irrevocably vanishing perfromance piece about the ephemeral nature of memory and media" (X)

that is such a cool experiement, if it was meant to be one. It is yet another slap in the face to Socrates. We need reference points. We read and retain, but not everything read is remembered and comprehended. Clarification is needed. This is why we take notes during lectures. We spend so much energy in trying to record everything the speaker is saying that we do't really pay attention to the value of what he has spoken. In listening, we tend to focus on what is being said, without reading into the subtext and deeper meanings. Beckett was a proponent of a method of writing where there was no deeper meaning. If the audience or reader found some, it was of their own invention. Beckett, I think, realized this ephemeral nature of memory and the way people pay attention. He wanted his audience to focus on what was being said, for everything he wanted them to know was right there, no further study needed. Incidently,  the day we spent on Beckett in Form/Analysis 2 was not on the meaing of the play but past productions that have altered the set and stage directions, angering Beckett because artistic license had obscured what he was trying to do.

"data can be recovered from media even under the most extraordinary conditions" (xii)

Don't I know this feeling. The hardrive crash of early March sent me into a panic, for most of my work at the university was preserved on that little black box. I started to think, "oh my god, what about all the stuff I had thrown away? I have no hard copies of that! What am I going to do!" Thankfully, I remembered that since I don't have a printer of my own, I had emailed every document to myslef at one point in time. Thank god for yahoo email. Luckily, CIT was able to recover all my word documents. The DvD-R is sitting locked up and protected in my room as we speak. I never want to have that feeling again. Back up your documents. Always email them to yourself, and print out a hard-copy as well as saving it to your thumb-drive.

"Information technology is among the most reliable content domains on Wikipedia, given the high interest of such topics among Wikipedia's readership and the consequent scrutiny they tend to attract" (xvii)

If this is so, then why are we not allowed to use wikipedia articles as sources for research papers? It is because of the fact that even though there are citations, many articles can still be falsified. There are topics in wikiepedia that not as many people care about as others. Popular subjects are fact-checked more often. Thus, a profile on an American Idol contestant would probably be more reliably than one on, say, the ingrdients of paint. But the editorial hisotry helps keep us aware that the article may or may not have been tampered with. the problem with wikipedia is that anyone can make an entry, expert or not.

"the smaller storage sizes of physical media make some of the close readings and forensic explorations in the book practical" (8)

I'm going to use a crude example from Writing About Lit. We had to read, among other works, Jane Eyre and Howl. Due to the enormous content of "Jane," we were not able to analyze the book as much as many of us would have liked to. Howl, on the other hand, was only a couple of pages long. re-reading was feasible in the time frame that we had. My blog on Howl was much longer than any of the ones on Jane Eyre had been. Due to the small nature of the work, we were able to probe. It probably would have taken the entire semester to analyze "Eyre" then we had "Howl."

will someone please explain to me what e-waste is?

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3 Comments

Dani, your point about Jane Eyre vs. Howl is also relevant to a discussion of the difference between genres. Poets write to be re-read, while a novelist recognizes that the reader won't read the whole thing in one sitting, so that the later chapters have to re-introduce characters and themes that haven't been touched on in a while. I remember when we were wrapping up Jane Eyre, I regretted leaving it so quickly -- were I to teach it again, I'd add a few more days to the schedule.

You're right that Wikipedia articles are uneven; the articles on technology or current events tend to be more thorough. But there's also the fact that any encyclopedia is merely a summary of other sources; no encyclopedia will replace the value of a peer-reviewed academic article written by a researcher who actually discovered something. The Wikipedia articles will only summarize someone else's published discoveries. But it's still a great source for an entry-level discussion, with links to authoritative resources for further reading.

Jeremy Barrick said:

True, I feel that when I read a smaller article, document, or chapter, I have more to expand on as opposed to reading something of length, I always feel that I cannot write a lot about the subject due to the coverage of the subject by the author. The last thing I want to do is sound redundant or paraphrase what the author has to say.

Rachel Prichard said:

Daniella ,

I think much like me, you are having some "wow how about that moments" with this book. I like how you were able to relate to how information can be recovered. I think we all can relate to it also. Something about technology is that there is always someone out there who can ease your mind about how intense it is.

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