The value of the paper airplane

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"for many, there was also that startling first time someone's careful folding transformed a page from an exercise book and a newly created paper dart took flight across the  merely underscores the widely held notion of the document as some sprt of paper transport carrying pre-formed "ideas" or "information"  through space and time" pg 105 Duguid and Brown

This metaphor never occured to me as my paper airplane, fashioned out of a page from the 8th grade Social Studies book, sailed into Dustin Erb's eye. But the metaphor does hold true.

Text allowed isolated individuals to communicate with one another. They were not alone anymore. Revolutions started because letters and pamphlets spread new ideas to previously unreachable parts of colonies and countries. Ideas were created when the documents planted seeds in people's minds. "it wasn't, though, simply the content that helped bind the nation. It was as much their wide circulation" (108). Reminds me of the Douglas reading wherein he would have never thought freedom a possibility had he never learned to read.

Drawing a parallel to my philosphy class, Bentham said that the community is not an actual object. It is made up of individuals. Widespread print communication allowed for an imagined community to form. There is a difference between "imagined" and "imaginary". Imagined exists, but just isn't tangible due to its size; imaginary does not exist.

As to the interrpretatrion of  documents, Stanley Fish claims that there is not a correct interrpretation; for this to occur, there would need to be some measureable standard for us to examine. The literature cannot talk back to us, so it is up to the readers to interrpret their own meanings. While a community may have some shared interests, they can never have all the same interests. That would be a utopia, where everything is perfect. Humans are not perfect, and we disagree. If we all shared the same ideas, there would be no need for any kind of government and police force. But as Hobbes proclaimed (another PL 210 reference), life among pure human nature is poor, nasty, brutish, and short. We would constantly be paranoid because we all have different conflicting interests. Different interrpretations for what is right (e.g. human nature) exhibit the need for government.  Anderson states that we can only have "general strategies of interpretation" (110).

"Between communities these must be elaborated, often to the exasperation of the original comunity, whose members can see the elaboration as redundant" (115)

This quote applies directly to my presentation for the humanities conference. My project was a costume design and analysis for a play called "The Rover" by Aphra Behn. My guess is that 85-90% of my audience has never read the play, which was not the case whn I originally presented it. In Form and Analysis 1, we all had to do a design from one of the plays assigned for class. When I wrote my companion paper, I had it in mind that everyone was familiar with the play. However, for my presentation for the conference, before I even delve into my costume design and analysis, I will have to give a (condensed) background and plot summary of the play and the elements included.


another thing I learned from this essay: Star Trek fans prefer being called "Trekkers" over "Trekkies".


I'm going to stop there; otherwise this blog will turn into two pages. The essay was inciteful and informative despite the fact it is undeniably out-dated. People standing outside at midnight for the launch of Windows '95 is now laughable, and I've never heard of CoNote. It seems to be an early ancestor of the blog. And the last time I used netscpae was probably back in 94/95 in my dad's old crecepit office in Lancaster City.

Reminds me of a line from the "Wedding Singer" where a character says, "who the hell's going to pay 3 dollars for a cup of coffee?"

Ahh, Starbucks...

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After Netscape (the company) was bought by AOL, the Netscape browser morphed into Mozilla Firefox, which is a popular alternative to the dominant Internet Explorer. Yes, this article is dated, but it does capture a particular period in the development of the electronic document.

A great, thoughtful blog entry, Dani!

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