Thursday, July 15, 2004

Reading around in some Ong offprints yesterday, I came across "Media
Transformed: The Talked Book" College English (Dec. 1972): 405-410, which made me think of Rich Rice's C&W 2004 presentation. The article is based on the experience of giving a taped interview, which was followed up by two additional interviews, which lead to a book that was supposed to represent a one-on-one discussion between the interviewer and Ong (Ong helped edit the book as well). Any way, two passages that stuck out are:

"A new medium of verbal communication not only does not wipe out the old, but actually reinforces the older medium or media. However, in doing so it transforms the old, so that the old is no longer what it used to be. Applied to books, this means that in the foreseeable future there will be more books than ever before but that books will no longer be what books used to be. If you think of books even today as working the same way books worked for Aristotle or St. Thomas Aquinas or Chaucer or Milton or Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, you are out of touch with the way things are" (405).

"Here we see the full complexity of the interaction of the media as sucessive media evolve. We have already seen that a new medium reinforces the earlier media by radically transforming them or, if you wish, radically transforming them by reinforcing them. Now we can see that part of the transformation is effected because the new medium feeds back into the old medium or media and makes them redulent of the new. the conventionally produced book can now sound to some some degree like the orally programmed book" (407).

Rich Rice's presentation, in short and in the terms Ong uses above, explored New Media's radical transformation of books such as Pause & Effect: The Art of Interactive Narrative.

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