Benjamin Geer on Thu, 16 Aug 2007 10:05:56 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> The banality of blogging

2007/8/15, Felix Stalder <>:

> There are a lot of things that are inherent to
> texts published using printing presses: they are published as stable,
> identitical copies

Is that an inherent quality of the text?  A text is a particular
sequence of words, which could be handwritten only once, or published
a million times.  Indeed, some texts which existed only as unique
handwritten copies before the invention of printing are now published
as books.  Did those texts change their character when they were
published on printing presses?  Did their content become more or less
personal or political, for example?  If you think the answer is no,
then I think you'd have to agree that printing presses don't impose
any particular character on texts.  If you think the answer is yes,
then perhaps this because you think texts have no inherent character
at all, that the characteristics of a text are purely determined by
readers' perceptions, in which case you also agree that those
characteristics are not determined by the technology of publication;
instead they're determined by social conventions that lead people to
experience a text differently depending on the technology used.

> written by an identifiable author (who may hide in
> particular instances, but that there is a neeed to hide is telling).

Who are the authors of the Vedas, the Bible, the Quran?  If the answer
to this question is difficult, is it because the authors are hiding?

> They are cheap, they are plentyful,

Maybe that's the case where you live, but in many parts of the world,
books are much too expensive to be affordable (never mind cheap) for
most people.  In a recent post on the edu-factory mailing list, Bill
Templer wrote that in Laos, where he has worked, "there are almost no
books of any kind, aside from Marx and Lenin, in the Lao language."

> and they are written and read alone, in silence.

According to tradition, the Quran was produced orally and transcribed
verbatim by listeners.  While silent, solitary readings of the Quran
exist, it is very often memorised and recited in groups.


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