15.234 reading in bed; TV & the Internet

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: Wed Sep 12 2001 - 01:35:24 EDT

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 234.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

       [1] From: lachance@chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance) (48)
             Subject: Re: 15.231 reading in bed for two

       [2] From: Michael Hart <hart@beryl.ils.unc.edu> (31)
             Subject: Re: 15.229 TV & Internet

             Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 06:29:38 +0100
             From: lachance@chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)
             Subject: Re: 15.231 reading in bed for two


    You concluded a posting with a question about ther rationale for reading

    >Is there any reason to think that to any degree we tend to read in bed for
    > historically contingent reasons, whatever the changes in convenience and
    > safety?

    May be examples from outside the Euro-sphere may be of interest. For some
    reason I have an image of Persian miniatures and Japanese prints with
    lovers bundled in bedding and one reading to the other or showing to the
    other an illustrated scroll. The images I have in mind could be
    anachronistic orientalist depictions meant for latter day consumers of
    written and illustrated material in close to prone positions.

    It is a work of fiction that sheds a bit of light on some regional
    factors that may affect cultures of reading:

    > imagine comfortable reading by candle-light. Is there not evidence
    > somewhere that the sensorium has over time adjusted to accommodate what we
    > find necessary or desirable to sense?

    >From Peter Hoeg's _Smilla's Sense of Snow_

    It's so bright. Some years ago they measured the light at Siorapaluk in
    Greenland. From December to Feburary, when the sun is gone. People
    imagine eternal night. But there are stars and the moon, and now and then
    the northern lights. And the snow. They registered the same amount of
    lumens as outside a medium-sized provincial town in Denmark. That's how I
    remember my childhood, too -- that we always played outside, and that it
    was always light. Int hose days we took the light for granted. A child
    takes so many things for granted. With time, you start to ask questions.

    One can image what McLuhan would have done with a putative relation
    between beds and books ( he would have turned to hyperbolic statement and
    claimed that the book gave rise to the bed ) or what latitude mapping he
    would have invoked (literacy belongs to the poles; orality to the
    equator). [Aside: Arun Tripathi's citing of Umberto Eco's
    characterisation of McLuhan as a "sociologist" has been
    re-cited in other postings to _Humanist_. McLuhan was a
    literary critic, he was employed in English Departments.
    Donald Theall makes the case for considering the media guru as
    a _poet manque_.]

    The global expansion of electrification notwithstanding, the complicated
    relations of climate and culture, still affect where and when people read
    (and what they read at the various wheres and whens) ---

    Laptops and glare --- reading at the beach huddled under a blanket.

    Imagine --- being able to read in bed (under the covers) without a

    Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large
    per Interactivity ad Virtuality via Textuality

             Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 06:30:09 +0100
             From: Michael Hart <hart@beryl.ils.unc.edu>
             Subject: Re: 15.229 TV & Internet

    > Date: Fri, 07 Sep 2001 06:51:57 +0100
    > From: "Patrick Rourke" <ptrourke@methymna.com>
    > >
    > > My copy reads: "The Medium Is The Massage". . . .
    > I believe we've had this discussion before. There is a book entitled *The
    > Medium is the Massage*, but that title is a self-referential joke on
    his own
    > earlier slogan that "the medium is the message."
    > Patrick Rourke

    It's not only that, but also that "The Medium is the Massage" was censored
    as a title in some locations [Texas being one, as I recall] and so special
    editions had to be printed, since, even in Texas, it was required reading
    for many classes.


    So nice to hear from you!

    Michael S. Hart
    Project Gutenberg
    "Ask Dr. Internet"
    Executive Director
    Internet User ~#100

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