[Humanist] 24.206 how sweetly tweet

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Tue Jul 20 23:14:28 CEST 2010

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 24, No. 206.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Sun, 18 Jul 2010 22:06:15 -0700
        From: Jascha Kessler <urim.urim at gmail.com>
        Subject: Just a short question...

The thread about Tweety Birds several times discussed the "determinism" of
digital poem composition.  I think the questions related to the possible
making according to digitalization, or the latter's inevitable formation of
what is made.  I entered on that point with some remarks that you put up.
 But it made me wonder today, what is the difference between that hypothesis
and McLuhan's flat statement, famous and notorious for decades as we all
know, that the medium IS the message.  Delphic enough, that.  Actually what
does that say?  That our apperceptive mass, its configuration and
æsthetic/intellectual components are formed and directed by our longterm
attention to what we see hear and read?  Is that something new?  Or does it
pertain to the life and experience even of that little Lucy, a
proto-ancestor?  McLuhan made that long argument brilliantly in his early,
and fine, illustrated book, THE MECHANICAL BRIDE, I think it was called.  I
used to point that out to Freshman English students, that analysis of the
front page say of a full-sized newspaper's layout.  The world as a
temporal/spatial collage presented all at once.  After a while things got a
bit different with the TV, which is temporally linear perforce.  And then we
get that oracular dictum.  So, is the thread about the determinism, or
determinating, or determinative nature of digital lines of words called
poems really not the same old same old?  I dont mind that; but I am bemused
by the full-barrel applications of all sorts of Structural/Derridarean
vocabulary and hifalutin, synthetic "discourse-ology," not to put too fine a
point on it.  If Humanities hiring in digitology provide jobs, well, that is
the current fad.  I dont mind that.  Every generation has to find a new way
to make a curriculum out of all the old ones, as R.P. Blackmur once
observed.  [I think it was he who said that, re new schools of criticism.]

Jascha Kessler

Jascha Kessler
Professor of English & Modern Literature, UCLA
Telephone/Facsimile: 310.393.4648

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