« January 2008 | Main | March 2008 »

February 27, 2008

EL-336 Portfolio 1. Oral to Manuscript Culture. The Stepping Stones of Technology

-Brookfield (1-22)-
-WM Plato-
-WM Ong-
-Havelock (19-62)-
-WM Homer;WM Sundiata-
-Havelock (63-97)-
-WM Rheingold-
-WM Elbow-
-Havelock (98-126)-
-WM Baron-
-WM Trithemius-
-Brookfield (23-35;46-53)-

-WM Birkerts-
-McLuhan (1-90)-
-Havelock (19-62)-
-Homer & sundiata-
-Havelock (63-97-
-Havelock (98-126)-
-Chris U.-
-Kayla S.-
-Daniella Ch.-

February 23, 2008

EL-336. McLuhan. The Voiceless Songbird

"Just as music written for a small group of instruments has a different tone and tempo from music designed for large halls, so with books. Printing has enlarged the "hall" for the author's performance until all aspects of style have been altered." (McLuhan, p.85)

All are the audience. The book does not focus on one specific audience, it respects everybody until a style and tone are found. That narrows the crowd down to members, not people.
Manuscript culture speaks silently to the reader. Voices are no longer needed for oral clarification. To recognize the voice, observe the reader and his/her emotions. Their body language and facial features speak for them.
Change the beat, change the audience. Is this how genres were developed?
Manuscript culture does not stray much from oral culture. They both are characterized by the voice. The voice is characterized by the tone, style, and setting.

February 20, 2008

EL-336. Eisenstein. Books Helped Develop the Internet

“A full recognition of diversity was indeed a concomitant of standardization. Sixteenth-century publications not only spread identical fashions but also encouraged the collection of diverse ones. Books illustrating diverse costumes, worn throughout the world, were studied by artists and engravers and duplicated in so many contexts that stereotypes of regional dress styles were developed. They acquired a paper life for all eternity and may be recognized even now in paper dolls, in operas, or at costume balls.” (p. 128, Eisenstein)

Technology was an advancement from the book, during the sixteenth century the book was in high demand. The static age of electronic innovations during the twentieth-century once again persuaded the public to utilize the internet. Information was accessed from books and other publications, just as the internet is used currently. An array of subjects can be researched so that even a simpleton may deemed wise. Books are indeed diverse, each one carries a style and tone that makes it unique. Illustrations and text combined are what appeals a specific audience to a reading . People learned from books, such as the encyclopedia and the Bible. The reader becomes entangled into a world of mystery and adventure, just as the world wide web does. They both perform the same actions, they deliver a plethora of information to the user, the only difference is, they arrived into the world during different centuries. While the internet is used by the majority, people still continue to use books and other publications for research. This method of retaining information has not lost its value, it has been temporarily put on the back burner.

EL-336. Birkerts. Technology Wasted

“Inevitably, one of the first realizations is that a communications net, a soft and pliable mesh woven from invisible threads, has fallen over everything. 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. Nature was then; this is now. Trees and rocks have receded. And the great geographical Other, the faraway rest of the world, has been transformed by the pure possibility of access. The numbers of distance and time no longer mean what they used to. Every place, once unique, itself, is strangely shot through with radiations from every other place. “There” was then; “here” is now.” (p.64, Birkerts)

The natural order of life has been disrupted by technology. Technology has made life easier for humans to survive. The electronics age has transformed the world into a “fast food nation”. Any type of information currently, the twenty-first century, is direct and no longer needs looked up. We have become a nation of overweight, know-it-alls due to the vast universe of information that can be researched by the click of a button.

EL-336. Brookfield. Learning Words

"In the nineteenth century, the introduction of postal services brought an increase in letter writing, and written communications grew rapidly." (Brookfield, p.50)

It is interesting how communication spread so fast. Once writing became well-known, it was no longer practiced only by scribes, ordinary people were able to take advantage of the innovation. Brookfield describes the different outlets for writing, it was not just restricted to paper and a pencil, it was opened to the chalk board, on wooden spelling boards (which reminded of the board game SCRABBLE), crayons, calligraphy became a style, writing was learned in the classroom, and a pencil could be put onto a compass for drawing circles. Writing became the norm among civilians. They were able to do so much with it. The strength of a letter is very powerful, when put alongside other letters they form words. Speech opened up for something bigger to come along, that was the written word.

February 16, 2008

EL-336 Baron. The Art and Science of Handwriting

"By the middle of the nineteenth century, handwriting moved from an art to a science. No longer was handwriting simply a mechanical skill. Instead, it was seen as involving both mind and body., "an active process in which the souls was uplifted and the body disciplined. Victorians were to form their letters as they formed themselves, through moral self-elevation and physical self-control." (p.58-59 Baron)
I guess I have been living in the Dark Ages. I never knew that handwriting was taken so seriously. To involve the body and mind? I guess what I'm trying to say is: I don't do it well, so I have ignored it and let technology replace it.
When I was young, we didn't have the technology like we do today. Handwriting was the primary source of writing papers and letters. Chalk also replaced the pen/pencil in some situations, but none the less, it was still handwriting. Writing in cursive was seen as an evolvement from basic printing. That took skill to master well. What technology did for writing, it eliminated the art, the tedious process, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
A quick reminisce- I majored in Drafting while in high school. We had to learn how to write mechanically. That one lesson in drafting was one of the toughest aspects of the subject that I ever had to learn.
So, I guess that handwriting is important, if one wants to be taken serious. Sloppy writing just doesn't cut it. Those who are hurried with their writing says something about their personalities; whereas those who are careful and take their time are different.

EL-336. Trithemius. Scribed to the Press.

"It is this piety which forges the weapons of the faithful against heresies, scatters the proud, weakens demons and sets the norm of Christian living." (p.470 Trithemius)
I guess you can call these people fanatics.
I thought the relation between good scribing and eternity was interesting. Was it because Johannes Trithemius was an abbot? Yes, a good hand copier takes skill as well as talent but technology has broken that tradition with the addition of the typewriter. With scribing, one is able to write with their font of choice or add additional things if necessary. With printing, it is so formal. The print is copied onto another print, word for word. There are pros to each innovation, just as there are cons to each. It stated in the book that copying was doomed, not directly because of printing , but because of the Reformation. There is something to be said of copying. I guess there is an art to it, a simple kind of perfection that eases ones soul. Personally, I have never been a good hand writer so I would not know what the accomplishment is like.

February 13, 2008

EL-336 Speech/Writing Presentations

I guess if it weren't for writing, there would not be literacy. The fact that people have learned to read and write only means that communication was strong at one point. Speech was largely formed in the days of the Greeks. They spouted philosophies on science, theology, and other interests. Body movement played a role in those speeches. The speaker made certain gestures, or movements to display an emotional or dramatic tone to their speech. Writing then came about, speakers did not feel that this concept was acceptable. The written word was drab and preserved, it cut the point of memorization. In the twenty and twenty-first centuries, both writing and speech have intertwined. No more have they been isolated from one another.
I have babbled enough. I will see how the presentations go and then continue on with the blog....

February 9, 2008

EL-336. WM. Elbow. Writing Made Easy

"...we cannot usually produce a carefully-pondered and well ordered piece of writing by talking onto paper. In any piece of writing that has been a struggle to produce, there is often a certain smell of stale sweat. Freewriting or spontaneous speech may be careless or shallow (the meaning is in the words but the amount of meaning is very small). If we learn to talk onto paper and exploit the speech-like quality possible in writing, we can have the experience of writing words with presence, and thereby learn what such writing feels like-in the fingers, in the mouth, and in the ear. This experience increases our chances of getting desirable speech qualities into the writing we revise and think through more carefully." (Elbow p.150)
Random thoughts are exactly what they are, random! If a writer puts spontaneous thoughts onto their piece, no one will understand their words, except them. A true writer is one who carefully thinks out what they are going to say before writing it. This makes for good reading. I know because I do it myself. I write randomly at times, when I read it back to myself, it makes sense, if my classmates or professors read something I have written spontaneously, it does not makes sense to them. This is a hard habit to break. Quality over quantity.

EL-336. Havelock. The Special Theory of Greek Literacy

"...human communication relies also on vision to the degree that bodily signals and responses are perceived by the eye." (Havelock. p.98)

Our senses are another way that one is able to respond to communication. The eye, in particular, replaced the ear by reading what was written. Writing replaced oral communication. This innovation changed the human society. Storing communication was made easier as the written word was seen by the eye as opposed to hearing speech by the ear. Take for example a conversation between an interviewer and the interviewee. The interviewee listens while making proper eye contact, and sitting in an upright position. The persons body language, speech, resume(written), and their sense of hearing needs to be up to the standards of the interviewer or company that they are attempting to seek employment from. The interviewer watches the potential employee as they ask them questions, to see how they are responding by body movement and language.
The eye has replaced the ear in many ways as far as the written word is concerned. But the two rely on one another. The ear hears while the eye sees. Oral and written are communication tools that rely on the senses.

February 5, 2008

EL-336. WM-Rheingold "What kind of person am I becoming as a result of all this stuff?"

"Whenever you see an Amish woman sitting in the field like that, she's probably talking on a cell phone."
What a bizarre picture Rheingold has painted, the image of this frightens me.

Good question. What have we become due to technology? If we didn't have it, where would we be? Possibly defeated. Have we used it for pure evil? Internet predators, wars, blogging, communication, dating, sex, shopping, house hunting.........etc. Maybe the Amish are right, keep it pure and simple. Nothing ever happens t them (except for the school shooting by Charles Roberts iv). Is this because they are slowly letting technology enter into their culture?
Yes, the concept of sharing a phone, is a good idea. But does it ruin the staple that America has put on them? Bringing technology into such an untouched area of the world can only ruin the people that inhabit it. The Amish are already a tight knit group that sticks together. Why the need for electronics?
It just doesn't stop at a cell phone, the Amish are slowly being engulfed by the outside world. This may turn them into an average group of people. Connection with the outside world brings conflict and unnecessary problems. In conclusion, if the community came first, maybe there would not be so much pressure in the world as it is today. More unity would be present. The world would be a safer place to live. Unscathed from the greedy monsters who control it.

EL-336, Havelock. Chapter 9. The spsecial Theory of Greek Orality

"In the history of the Greek written word, the earliest Greek text composed throughout as a text may be that of Hesiod, and this despite the fact that his language is basically Homeric, retaining all the formulaic character of orally preserved verse." (Havelock. The Muse Learns to Write)
Hesiod wrote, but retained all the characteristics of oral verse. Persuaded by the Greek past of preserving the word by memory. Hesiod wrote what Homer spoke, not his words, but his style, he did this by describing the persons and functions. A story tells the actions of a character or event,it more or less shows, while the narrative explains the character(s) and event(s) by a series of describing, it tells. Greek orators were narrators, while writers, such as Hesiod told by writing their memory down.

February 3, 2008

EL-336; Radio and the Rediscovery of Rhetoric. Ch. 4

"Franklin Roosevelt and Adolph Hitler embodied power and persuasion over men's minds which was electronically transmitted and which proved functionally essential to the kind of political influence that they wielded." (Havelock. The Muse Learns to Write)
I loved this chapter so much, that I read it twice. It actually defended the argument that I have been trying to defend. Speech relying on writing. One needs the other. The two were forced into some bizarre union. The result was successful. Radio personalities need some sort of script to read off of when they broadcast. This is what reaches the masses, not some random thoughts a DJ can come up with out of his/her head.
Radio waves are able to be transmitted worldwide, reaching the necessary parties that they cater to. Oral communication was designed to reach specific audiences in times of war and other such events. This would either build character, or in the case of Hitler broadcasting to threatening countries, destroy. The power of the word is very strong, but to speak well and mean it, something must be written, so the speaker is able to get their point across clearly. Reading off of a script is a lot easier than trying to persuade an audience empty handed.

EL-336; Homer-Sundiata

'Room, room, make room!
The lion has walked;
Hide antelopes,
Get out of his way.' (Niane. The Lion's Awakening)

Oral tales, when written, would be translated differently. The authors who scribe the poems/lores hear the orator as they want to hear them, it's selective. That is why I feel that there are different versions of the same poem/lore. The learning styles of men who write, are much different than the learning styles of men who speak.
The idea of griot is to preserve the word of the speaker. Is this not the same thing as a piece of paper? It is a way of preserving something that is communicated. I do not feel that it should be argued, for all it is, is personal preference. There are strengths in both speech and writing. Personally, I choose writing for its deep text and bold print, something I have grown accustomed to. "Other people use writings to record the past, but this invention has killed the faculty of memory among them." Yes, indeed this invention has killed the memories of men. The leisure of looking something up when one forgets gives man an ego, but to memorize something that is spoken takes talent, it is more of an art form than jotting something down on paper.