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By Frank J.

By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: October 31, 2006

By Frank J. Romano The details are transitory October 31 , 2006 -- I have had enough. All I read about is video downloads, movie downloads, music downloads, iPod downloads, and all those other downloads. It's getting me down (and loaded). No one speaks up about the original download--reading. "A new medium is never an addition to an old one, nor does it leave the old one in peace. It never ceases to oppress the older media until it finds new shapes and positions for them." We are being bombarded with bits--cell phones, TVs, PDAs, PCs, big flat screens, little flat screens, and Jumbotrons. "One of the effects of living with electric information is that we live habitually in a state of information overload. There's always more than you can cope with." It was bad enough with television spraying billions of electric bits of data at you. Try to remember the details of what you saw and heard. The details are transitory. "New media may at first appear as mere codes of transmission for older achievement and established patterns of thought. But nobody could make the mistake of supposing that phonetic writing merely made it possible for the Greeks to set down in visual order what they had thought and known before writing. In the same way printing made literature possible. It did not merely encode literature." Reading is how we learn and we are learning less because we focus on the image and not the word. We learn and we are learning less because we focus on the image and not the word. "We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us." We are seduced by the new gadgets of our society. We sacrifice the moments of quiet and introspection for the ability to instantly communicate. At any moment, one-third of all Americans are on a cell phone. "Each new impact (technology) shifts the ratios among all the senses." From the ear to the eye to the ear to the eye and then both of them simultaneously. "Gutenberg made everybody a reader. Xerox makes everybody a publisher." We are losing readers as they phase into watchers. If radio is the theater of the mind; television is the theater of the mindless. We are losing our connection to text as we focus on dancing pixels. But on-demand printing could bring the readers back. If radio is the theater of the mind; television is the theater of the mindless. "In the name of 'progress', our official culture is striving to force the new media to do the work of the old." Media should not be characterized as new or old. It is just media and it will all have to work together because no new media is going to completely eliminate any older media. "The hybrid or the meeting of two media is a moment of truth and revelation from which new form is born. The moment of the meeting of media is a moment of freedom and release from the ordinary trance and numbness imposed by them on our senses." "A hot medium is one that extends one single sense in 'high definition.' High definition is the state of being well filled with data." We are stuffed with data from a plethora of media. The problem is that big media conglomerates have lost sight of their constituencies. "One of the nicest things about being big is the luxury of thinking little." All of the text in quotes are by Marshall McLuhan. He agrees with everything I say.



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