Thursday, February 07, 2008

"The Rise of the Reading Public"

"As communion with the Sunday paper has replaced church-going, there is a tendency to forget that sermons had at one time been coupled with news about local and foreighn affairs, real estate,transactions, and other mundane matters. After printing, however, news gathering and circulation were handled more efficiently under lay auspices." - Elizabeth Eisenstein, pg. 103

I believe what Ms. Eisenstein is describing is the detachment of man from experience. What I mean by that is, man is loosing touch with reality, in a sense. Its similar to what we are taught growing up. You give a kid anything they want, and they become spoiled. It also seems like a form of conditioning. If you do not go out into the real world and experience things for yourself, and you tend to only go by what is in front of you, or handed to you, then you are subject to conditioning. You also become dependent. Dependent on the paper for your information, or dependent on the t.v. for your entertainment.

Ms. Eisenstein makes reference to the fact that no one has really recorded the impact on the lives of people since the invention of the moveable type. I believe that as mass media progressed, society became more pluralistic. Things may tend to be more standarized, but, it is inevitable and it will cdontinue to happen.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Literacy Of Men & Women

"Overall, male literacy in New England rose from 60 percent in 1660 to 70 percent by 1710, then to 85 percent by 1760. Female literacy, which probably ranged from 30 to 40 percent in the early 1700's, rose to about 60 percent by the 1760's -- and these figures, based on signature rates, probably understate the proportion of women who could read. Reading, writing, and arithmetic were taught as a sequence, and many girls were taught only to read; the manual skill that women were thought not to need writing, but knitting and sewing." - Paul Starr, Chapter 2: New Foundations, Creation Of Media, Page 52.

Apparently, women weren't as educated as men during these times and it was indeed a shame but at the same time predictable. Centuries ago, men were the "stronger" sex because they were more educated but the only reason this was true was because men were allowed to have these rights -- to have the abilities to learn everything. They learned to read, write, and accomplish different equations with numbers. While the men were forced to learn these things, they were also allowed to learn them. Sadly, the women could not say the same thing because they were only being taught to read. Women weren't learning anything but reading because the men felt nothing more was needed. Since men were more educated, it is obviously sensible as to why the male literacy number is higher. I feel that back in these days, men were above the women. The men wanted to learn more than the women because they were afraid if the women knew as much as them or more, everything would change. This change would be bad for the men. Women were just as capable as men to learn all these things, it's just that the men didn't want it to be done. For the women to have the same literacy as the men, the women would need to be more independent. They would need to come together and change everything.

Benjamin Franklin: Apology for Printers

"Benjamin Franklin: Apology for Printers, "

Two great quotes from Franklin's, Apology for Printers are what I have based this weeks blogs on and how they are an important premise when reading gossip magazines.

BF states, "That if all Printers were determin'd not to print anything till they were sure it would offend no body, there would be very little printed."

"That if they sometimes print vicious or silly things not worth reading, it may not be because they approve such things themselves, but because the People are so viciously and corruptly educated that good things are not encouraged."

As I learned in my Psychology classes, many professors have attempted to explain our societies desire for celebrity gossip by theorising that it may be down to evolutionary traits, that several million years before Lindsey and Brittney the human psyche already had a thirst for page after page of celebrity gossip and smut. I truly feel, that our country capitalizes on the human's basic instinct and this is what moves millions of copies of these gossip magazines every week. The publishers of these rag magazines are people who feel that celebrities are worth gossiping over and this will indeed bring much profit. Rag magazines distort the realities of the world and in exchange they print articles and pictures in a flimsy, pathetic and degrading way where nonsense, nobodies and somebodies appear to be making fools of themselves.

Trash magazines keep the reader ignorant because they do not encourage them to question, probe, wonder and ask questions. It seems to me that they are meant to take your time and your money. People who read these magazines, watch gossip programs, how can they engage in current events in politics or try to engage in our country's business, because they are in catatonic state induced by this nonsense, but without it what would these people read on line at the grocery store or at the beach!!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Media Wars

I have to admit, I never really thought about the affect the industry has over what product makes it and what doesn't. That is until I purchased a new computer with Windows Vista.
After I made my purchase, I quickly found out that nothing was compatible with the new system. My MP3 player, that was only 2 years old, was considered obsolete. My scanner doesn't work, my camera doesn't work, and I needed to download a new program for my printer. I immediatley called up the companies of the products I owned and complained. Everyone told me that their was nothing that could be done and I would have to purchase everything all over again. How does something like this happen? Does the consumer have any say in it?
"To help you determine whether your computer can run Windows Vista and whether the applications you're currently using will work under Vista, Microsoft has created the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor. This utility will analyze your system and give you a report about possible compatibility problems with your hardware and software." For more information and to download the Advisor, visit:
It's frustrating to even have to go through all of this, but hopefully the link above can help with any issue.