February 2008 Archives

 Hello. My name is David Cristello and I am currently a sophomore at Seton Hill University.  This purpose of this entry is to compile all blogs related to the course Media and Culture.  Each reflects a different passage we we're assigned.  Each blog should consist of at least one quote, and then I tried to expand upon the issues brought up by the quote. The passages range in length depending on the depth needed to reach a satisfactory level of clarity.  Since this is my first experience blogging, I apologize for any technological defaults.

All blogs:

Coverage:

Timeliness:
Interaction:

Depth:

Discussion:
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/DaniellaChoynowski/2008/02/tr_150_in_15_minutes.html#comments
http://blogs.setonhill.edu/JeremyBarrick/2008/01/el336_written_vs_oral_word_is.html

Im terribly sorry if the links above do not work!



http://jerz.setonhill.edu/EL336/2008/portfolio_1.php


The Gutenberg Galaxy 1-90

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"All classic literature, it may be said, is conceived of as conversation with, or an address to, an audience" (McLuhan pg. 85)

      This brings up a quick point of how standardization of printing changed human thinking and writing. As the act writing become more accepted, writers/orators could turn away from the interpersonal relations and concentrate on the intrapersonal.  This simple act of focuses within the internal could have helped ignite the countries interest in fields such as psychology and cognitive development. Writing (post-classic literature) gave the writers the freedom to explore previous untouched areas of the conscious and subconscious, without worrying about the reaction of a specific audience. Writers during this period wrote to explore, pursue, and evaluate not only the potential of the medium but also human thought.  

http://jerz.setonhill.edu/EL336/2008/mcluhan_190.php

Brookfield entry

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"Notes in German on events from the Creation to 1595 were written on long strips of paper. The writing is clear, but there is no beginning or end." (Brookfield 29)
   *** Visual aid is provided within the text***

    The image of one the earliest forms of print culture demonstrates the difficulties or even humorous origins of the modern day book. Every advancement is only achieved by those who are willing to take risk and present challenging ideas. Although this form of the book is quite comical, it was also necessary because it helped structure and organize the modern book.   

Wm Eisentein

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" The capacity to produce uniform spatiotemporal images is often assigned to the invention of writing without adequate allowance being made for the difficulty of multiplying identical images by hand" (Eisentein 127)

"The standardization also brought out more clrealy all deviations from classical canons reflected in diverse buildings, statues, paintings, and objets d' art." (Eisenstein 127)

   The first quote focuses on the uniformity that print brought about. In oral culture, images and stories were replicated by hand, and therefore would be more susceptible to variances. Neither culture is right or wrong, but the change from one to the other greatly affected the way we organized our thoughts and ideas.  The second quote again touches base on the fact the print culture brought about different classification methods. Since ideas were becoming extremely organized, the use of sub-catagories became more prominant. 

http://jerz.setonhill.edu/EL336/2008/wm_eisenstein.php

WM Birkets

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"The so-called natural world, the place we used to live, which served us so long as the yardstick for all measurements, can now only be perceived through a scrim" (Birkets 64)

   Our perception of the natural world is based largely upon our perceived images one receives from electronic media. The current, young population obtains information from glamorized media devices, such as the television or the internet. This quote also focuses on the current inverse struggle between man and nature. Since the birth of humanity, man has constantly fought against the forces of nature. But as our capabilities expand, man has began to create an atmosphere in which nature is now in a struggle against humanity. Is this reflected through our forms of communication? (Perhaps, although that doesn't seem to be Birkets intention within his article.) Oral culture was obviously the most natural form of communication, as in every animals developed some form of relying messages, whether it be elementary or extremely advanced. Print culture was a reflection of the times, and the growing nations need information to be spread quicker, faster, more efficient. Electronic culture reflects our current society. Every change in sciences and communication mirrors its time period. Electronic culture has seemed to isolate us from real social enviroments, which might also reflect our current inability to understand or live next to nature. We've become such a narcissitic  culture that it is become difficult to even care about anything else. Man is maintaining its dominance, and seems to be running away from harmony and syncorization.  

http://jerz.setonhill.edu/EL336/2008/wm_birkerts.php

WM Baron

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"Like a speakers accent, handwriting was used to pinpoint a writers social place" (Baron 58)

"...the goal wasn't to teach composition-where conformity is hardly a virtue, but rather the technical skill of copy-writing." (Baron 59)
  
     This interesting, although brief, essay explores the history of penmanship within US. Originally students were taught to copy, as oppose to our modern day composition classes (see quote above).  Baron also makes note that handwriting was a means of seperating classes, and briefly shows the difference between the text of the intellectuals and that of the businessman. This article was fascinating in that it showed the historical importance of handwriting, and how it was not only a means of self expression, but also was (and is) useful within commerce and social classifications.   

WM Trithemius

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"Nothing can draw the monk more closely to active perfection than giving himself, for love of neighbor, to the copying of divine scripture" (WM 472)

"Scribes, therefore, are the heralds of the divine will which they have handed down to us through the visible written word." (WM 472)

Top four benefits of being a scribe:
    Time is put to productive use
    Mind becomes "illuminated"
    Sentiments are "enkindled to total surrender"
    Reward in after life

        Trithemius asserts that copying manuscripts forces the scribe to focus, analyze, and connect with each word he/she is copying. Because the majority of works being copied by monks were religious, the act of re-writing entire collections allowed the monks to connect with written word of God. Trithemius also emphasis the importance of remaining busy doing the work of God, and by copying religious works, one can spread the message of God more thoroughly than that of a preacher. Thrithemius fights against the fall of hand copying manuscripts, and ask each monk to carry on the tradition, not only for themselves, but for others.  Hand copying text calls for patience, discipline, and focus, all characteristics that monks strive for. The entire passage focused on the importance of Monk's remaining busy, and one of the most productive ways to do so is to copy the scripture. 


WM Trithemius

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"Nothing can draw the monk more closely to active perfection than giving himself, for love of neighbor, to the copying of divine scripture" (WM 472)

"Scribes, therefore, are the heralds of the divine will which they have handed down to us through the visible written word." (WM 472)

Top four benefits of being a scribe:
    Time is put to productive use
    Mind becomes "illuminated"
    Sentiments are "enkindled to total surrender"
    Reward in after life

        Trithemius asserts that copying manuscripts forces the scribe to focus, analyze, and connect with each word he/she is copying. Because the majority of works being copied by monks were religious, the act of re-writing entire collections allowed the monks to connect with written word of God. Trithemius also emphasis the importance of remaining busy doing the work of God, and by copying religious works, one can spread the message of God more thoroughly than that of a preacher. Thrithemius fights against the fall of hand copying manuscripts, and ask each monk to carry on the tradition, not only for themselves, but for others.  Hand copying text calls for patience, discipline, and focus, all characteristics that monks strive for. The entire passage focused on the importance of Monk's remaining busy, and one of the most productive ways to do so is to copy the scripture. 


" Partnership between oral and written, acoustic and visual, ear and eye, still remains intimate, with the eye as yet a junior partner."  (Havelock pg. 103)

       Havelocks explains the simliarity between the two (speech/written) by expressing that the two both rely on the intimate connection that occur within the writer and or speaker. Both call upon personal reflection, whether it demands it audience visually or acoustically. Both forms draw the attention of its audience by attempting to relate or transform the views and expression of others.

" This had freed the composer to choose subjects for a discourse which were not necessarily agents, that is, persons" ( Havelock pg. 101).

    Here Havelocks seems to express the power of writing. By seperating the intended audience, the writer is free to approach any topic, wihtout worry of the intential reactions. Becuase of this, abstract thoughts were able to bring about change in congitive thought. The writer didnt have to worry abouts subjects as much as the subject. Ideas over audience reaction. 

 

http://jerz.setonhill.edu/EL336/2008/02/12/

 

WM: Elbow

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"...that the fucntion of writing is to record what we have already decided-not to figure out whether we believe it." (WM: Elbow pg. 139)

      This quote seemed to drive one of Eblow's more demanding points: That in writing, one often loses the spontaneity of oral thought, and instead of discovering new truths about our views, we instead focus in on organzing beliefs and opinions that we have already confirmed. What Eblow seems to assert is that writing, while useful in its ability to force the writer to think within organizted, well crafted terms, is also useful in finding and challenging new truths and ideas within ourselves (perhaps thorugh a more improvised way). Writing can be used as a way of clarifiction, and perhaps we often placed too much emphasis on soley consutrcuting papers that simply state truths we already know (Part of Eblow's theory of "getting it right"). Instead of always "getting it right", one can lend their thoughts to the unknown, challenge and explore the capacities within oneself, and through that somehow discover an underlying truth would could be set as a cornerstone for personal growth and understanding.

 

http://jerz.setonhill.edu/EL336/2008/02/12/

Muse Learns to Write 2

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"Such was the birth of what we call poetry , a performance now relegated under literacy to the status of a pastime, but originally the functional instrument of storage of cultural information for re-use or, in more familiar language, the instrument for the establishment of a cultural tradition." (The Muse Learns to Write pg. 70)

   This brief passage gives way to the humble beginnings of modern poetry.  Poetry was often used in oral dominant cultures as reminders of historical events and/or lessons and sometimes the verse would be performed with music and dance. Poetry and the rhythm of words can provide us with a useful tool for memorization and learning. 

WM:Rheingold

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"...Their example invites reflection on a modern dilemma;how to balance the rights on the individual with the needs of the community." (WM 387)

    The amish focus in on the community first, individual second. In modern America, and most of the world, the importance is first and foremost the individual. What makes you happy, content, pleasant, angry, sad, and hopefully are all extremely important.  The amish adhere to complete conformity, while Americans prefer choices. What the importance is which group remains happier?  

Havelock:Muse...

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"Yet I think a nerve had been touched common to all of us, an acoustic nerve and so an oral nerve, something that had been going on for over forty years since the end of World War I, to the point where it demanded response." (Havelock: The Muse Learns to Write. Page 30)

     The quote focuses on the origins of the popular debate that arose in the 1960s. The question seemed to regard whether orally dominated culture process and development information differently, and if so, to what degree?  The previous chapter in the book takes a brief glimpse into what the author perceives as the "top 5" publications that causes this great debate to gain notoriety.  While these books still hold value, I think the larger idea needs to be focused on. Revolution in thought is often development around the changes of that era.  The five books stated in the previous chapter all seemed to be published briefly after WWII, which gives way to the notion that the war help bring about the great debate between oral and literate cultures. WWII brought the world together as much as it brought it apart. New technologies, which were no longer needed for war, helped create a new world were communication became quicker and more accessable. Henceforth, while the author denies any of the authors had any knowledge of the others work, it seems that through the open seas, certain nations could now send more mail at a quicker pace. Again, this is theory, but this great debate seemed to sprout from an era in which thousands of new ideas and proposals were being arrange everyday. The agruement is a reflection of its time, and the now seemingly smaller world become more apparent to the authors (maybe through TV,film, etc.). They saw nations were literature was not dominate, were oral communication and oral knowledge held the majority. Because of this, the debate soon followed.  

Sundiata; Changes

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  "The story of Sundiata has been passed down orally by men know as griots. Griots can described as poets, historians, singers, story-tellers, and public relations men rolled into one." (WM 443)

   While the quote is more reflective on the history of the story, the actually passage deals with the transferring of the tale, and how it has been transformed in order to meet the needs of specific cultures.  The first example has been Westernized, so that readers such as myself have an easier time reading it. The second, and perhaps more true to its original form, maintains a completely different flow and language (although they're both in English).  Neither passage is more correct than the other, because the importance of any story is that the main, underlying idea or thought is passed along to the audience. Variances in culture force us to alter passages in order for them to relate to the audience.  Again, the importance any story should be its ability to convey its message in a powerful and thought provoking manner, and if altering it in order to so is required, I see that as a necessary transformation. 

Homer/Illiad

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   "We also know that ancient Greek poets improvised; each poetic performance was probably different, altered to suit its audience." (WM 192)

   This short passage focused on the difficulties of transferring orally created stories to text. In an orally dominate culture, stories were altered depending on the location and narrator. The narrator would rely on the rhythm of the words in order to convey a seamless and potent story.  It is because of the difference between the two cultures that makes it nearly impossible to transcribe oral stories perfectly into literature. There will always be variances when translating, because each culture and each language utilized specific rhythms and fluidity that often pertain only to that specific group. 

http://jerz.setonhill.edu/mt-jerz/mt-tbsa98df7ds.cgi/1505

Recent Comments

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Daniella Choynowski on Doctorow: THe BEGINNING : I feel your pain David. I was
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