Your premise is wrong Nancy. There are MANY keys to the different forms
of communication and corresponding cultures which envelop us today.
Keys to popular music for instance can be found, among others, in African
music, just to cite a small example, wherein a lot of educated people would
be illiterate. I have agreed that literacy is A key; I strongly doubt that
it is the most important one any more. The subtext which your arguments
don't want to face is that literacy as we have known it, is weakening, and
being replaced by other forms of communication, and transmogrifications of
word form and usage IMHO. My major complaint is that the new cultures are
being measured by literate culture and found wanting, where, in fact, the
reverse may well be true.
Indeed universal literacy is a value in our culture, but it is being
replaced rapidly, and once audio-interface computers take over, it may well
recede to the status of the horse, and the truly oral character of this
current medium will become aparent. Each new technology tends to make its
predecessor obsolete (not destroyed), so that it transforms into an art form
appreciated by specialists, but is no longer dominant in the culture.
See McLuhan's LAWS OF THE MEDIA passim.
I love Latin. It's beautiful. I studied it for 5 years.
One of its major virtues is that it is dead.
Likewise Ango-Saxon. Exquisite. Cut in stone.
A true gem of a language.
From: Nancy Gish
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: 2004-Dec-22 10:26 PM
Subject: Re: (OT) Internet : an overkill ?
Let's accept that for the sake of argument. And if it is true, all the
rest are without a key, and it is classist in the most unconscionable
way to decide for them that though you have it, they don't need it.
Moreover, it is not really true in countries where at least reading and
writing have been almost universally available. It is a key for
all--you know, like reading stop signs or government forms or even
emails. That too is a form of print culture, not oral culture. So this
notion that you can decide what others can do without eliminates their
key to basic services and knowledge.
And that is a form of elitism I consider unethical.
It is an interesting fact I learned when teaching a course on WWI that
the Boer War was the first in which masses of soldiers went who could
write. And the same was true of WWI--hence a fundamental change in
representation of what had been the prerogative of the aristocracy from
images of "valor" and "honor" to the actual horror. A few of us have
imagined War differently because of that. There will always be some who
write; to leave it to a few is to invite tyranny over what all think,
far worse than we now have.
So let's get past this utterly false pretention that championing oral
culture is somehow a demonstration of one's great moral acknowledgement
of the masses and a proof of how cool or hip (or whatever the current
slang is) one is despite one's privilege as a member of the academic,
writing, and reading masses.
>>> [log in to unmask] 12/23/04 12:51 AM >>>
It is only A key, and relevant only to the educated classes.
Nancy Gish wrote:
>I think it absurd to call the ability to communicate in a way used for
>centuries and key to cultural access a form of elitism.
>>>>[log in to unmask] 12/22/04 8:09 PM >>>
>One man's unholy worship is another's non sequitur.
>Your so-called analogy is simply a distraction from
>the issue of literacy and its importance, which to my
>mind is highly overrated, however useful and important
>it may be. The over-rating is an unhealthy form of
>From: Nancy Gish
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Sent: 2004-Dec-21 5:33 PM
>Subject: Re: (OT) Internet : an overkill ?
>It's perfectly logical and not at all a non sequitur. The point is the
>obvious one that lasting for millenia without something does not mean
>that no one needs it or can make use of it now, or that having it is
>an improvement. I would have been dead several times over if there
>no antibiotics, so I'm very glad they exist, even if humans lived for
>millenia (much shorter lives) without them.
>Or, very sophisticated societies have lasted for millenia through
>remedies. What is this unholy worship of antibiotics anyway?
>It's called an analogy.
>Have you read Eavan Boland's poem to antibiotics, by the way? It's
>Merry Christmas to you too.
>>>>[log in to unmask] 12/21/04 5:05 PM >>>
>Now there's a beautiful non-sequitur if I ever saw one.
>Merry Christmas to you too, Nancy.
>Nancy Gish wrote:
>>They lasted for millenia without antibiotics, automobiles, or
>>also. So? Are you suggesting a return to medieval peasant society?
>>>>>[log in to unmask] 12/21/04 4:03 AM >>>
>>Very sophisticated societies have lasted for millenia through oral
>>culture. What is this unholy worship of writing, anyway?
>>Life is too short, and I have a nice roast beef sandwich to eat.