The Peek A Boo World, Chapter 5.

 

Amusing Ourselves to Death, pp, 64-80.

 

Themes:

Building on the idea that we are great abbreviators and that discourse abbreviates thought, he assumes:

Conquest of space
The solution to these problems was electricity
Telegraphy did something that Morse did not foresee
       "One neighborhood of the whole country."
              Strangers became neighbors
              Created its own definition of discourse

       Irrelevance, impotence and incoherence were introduced by telegraphy in redefining discourse.

GRAPHICALITY INFORMATION CRITIQUE FACTICITY PSYCHOLOGY PURPOSE

 

    "The telegraph made information into a commodity, a 'thing' that  

       could be bought and sold irrespective of its source of meaning." (65)

 

 

Partnership between telegraph and newspapers altered journalism, content, & connotation.

 

Baltimore Patriot reporting of the Congressional debate on the Oregon issue

"this indeed was an annihilation of space." (the news report said).

 

Newspapers investing in telegraphy was a sign of the future in 1850s

 

May 24, 1844 Samuel F. B. Morse opened the telegraph office, (later: Western Union, A T & T.)

 

1848 AP or Associated Press, a wire service established to send stories for newspaper reporting.

 

"telegraphy made relevance, irrelevant."

 

"populated by strangers who knew nothing but the most superficial facts about each other."

p. 67.

 

GRAPHICALITY INFORMATION CRITIQUE FACTICITY PSYCHOLOGY PURPOSE

 

INFORM

 

"information derives its importance from the possibilities of action"

 

"But most of our daily news is inert."

 

"Information :  action ratio" was altered

      

"information glut"

is a condition wherein the I:A ration diminishes capacity to act,

or

Change 

 

 "What steps do you plan to take?"

 

        "Voting we might say Is the last best refuge of the politically impotent."

 

        Information – "did not permit the right of reply."

 

"Dignify irrelevance and amplify impotence." 

 

"telegraphy exact opposite of typography (p. 69)

 

Books – "organized analysis of information." "it takes time"

 

Telegraphy fails to pass the "test of permanence, continuity or coherence."

"Sensational, fragmented, impersonal"

headline culture, disconnected messages

 

Telegraph wrought a world – delivered by newspapers—of fragments & discontinuities.

GRAPHICALITY INFORMATION CRITIQUE FACTICITY PSYCHOLOGY PURPOSE

 

GRAPHICALITY

 

Louis Daguerre was re-conceiving the meaning of nature –or realty itself."

                                                                                                   Page, 71.

 

"The daguerreotype it gives her the power to reproduce herself."

 

"refashioning nature to make it comprehensible and manageable."

 

"he had invented the world's first cloning device."

 

Herschel's name "writing with light" had an ironic quality

 

Photography and writing emerged into two different universes of discourse

 (p. 71)

 

Photography as a "language is a risky metaphor" because it has a limited vocabulary

 

Photo lacks a syntax, making it unable to argue with the world

 

The point of photography is to isolate images from context."

(Sontag refer.) p. 73

 

"Like telegraphy photography recreates the world as a series of idiosyncratic events"

 

"The sudden and massive intrusion of the photograph into the symbolic environs"

GRAPHICALITY INFORMATION CRITIQUE FACTICITY PSYCHOLOGY PURPOSE

 

CRITIC

 

The Image by Daniel Boorstin

Boorstin's "fierce assault of machine produced images" on language

 

"the picture forced exposition into the background."

 

"obliterated it altogether"

 

telegraphic "news from nowhere" was perfectly complemented by photos

the context created by tele–photography was "of course entirely illusory."

 

People once gathered information to manage the real contexts of their lives,

now they had to invent contexts (crossword puzzles) in which otherwise useless i

nformation might be put to some apparent use."

                                                                                                   p. 76.

GRAPHICALITY INFORMATION CRITIQUE FACTICITY PSYCHOLOGY PURPOSE

 

FACTICITY

 

The major "creation of the graphic revolution was the pseudo-event" specifically staged to be reported."

 

"The pseudo-context is the last refuge,

of a culture overwhelmed by irrelevance, incoherence, and impotence."                   

p. 76.

 

A language that denied interconnectedness, proceeded without context, argued the irrelevance of history, explained nothing and offered fascination in place of complexity and coherence."

 

"a world that does not ask us,--does not permit us to do anything"

 

 Childishly "peek a boo" world that is endlessly entertaining

 p. 77.

GRAPHICALITY INFORMATION CRITIQUE FACTICITY PSYCHOLOGY PURPOSE 

 

PSYCHOLOGY

 

"The problem comes when we try to live in them." (our dreams)

 

Television allowed us to actually "live in them"

p. 78.

 

TV is in the command center of the new epistemology" shaped by the biases of TV

 

TV "arranges our communications environment for us in ways" no other medium can

Computer literacy in the future – but TV is the "meta-medium"

Altering not only structuring what we know

"but our knowledge of the ways of knowing as well."

p. 79.

 

Status of myth

"which is a way of understanding the world that is not problematic."

– Roland Barths

myths

 

There are ties here to Lakoff and Greider]

 

"We do not doubt the reality of what we see on television." 

P. 79

 

GRAPHICALITY INFORMATION CRITIQUE FACTICITY PSYCHOLOGY PURPOSE

PURPOSE

 

"the background radiation of the social and intellectual universe." No longer strange

 

"the world as given to us through television seems natural, and not bizarre."

 

"Make the epistemology of television visible again."

80

 

"For the loss of the sense of the strange is a sign of adjustment, and

the extent to which we have adjusted is a measure of the

extent to which we have been changed."

Pp. 79-80.

GRAPHICALITY INFORMATION CRITIQUE FACTICITY PSYCHOLOGY PURPOSE

Social sciences index

Sources

 links