Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Natural Language Theories; retrieving cliches.

All ideas this morning.

Just helping MV with her facebook paper, and I was sketching some "ideal" scenarios. Even as I sketched them, however, I seriously doubted them, and kept thinking: Bad money drives out good. I think this law applies quite frequently in the high tech communication world: the early promise of a democratic web (good money) has largely been driven out by bad (commercial / pornographic / non-democratic bad--a value judgement, I realize); the early promise of intellectually rich blogging driven out by daily blabbing (again, I see my own biases her); Facebook seems to have great potential for creating community among students and faculty, retrieve the small college feel, but instead becomes "StalkerBook" and popularity contests.

McLuhan's laws of media try to remain value-neutral, but Gresham's law seems like a value-laden version of reversal.

Oh, and NLT: McLuhan was the master at using the vernacular to theorize: hot and cool mediums, the medium is the message / massage / mass age. I find myself increasingly drawn to aphorism like Gresham's law, and it seems like a retrieval of these cliches--retrieval is enhancements, as new application, as remediation--is one, potentially interesting, way to go about theorizing the world of media ecology (another NLT). I see in this one more way in which Derrida distinguished himself from McLuhan, one more way in which I distinguish myself from Ulmer.

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