Readings for 5/5

This week’s readings had a lot to do with recent technologies.  Friedberg’s reading was probably one of my favorites so far this semester.  She brought up Marshall McLuhan’s famous words “the medium is the message”.  I’ve heard these words in every media studies class since I first started media studies, and always knew what it meant, but Friedberg’s reading intensified the meaning of the phrase.  McLuhan was right – content has a tendency to blind and skew our perception of the actual medium.  Cinema has been dramatically transformed and somewhat lost around all types of new technology.  I feel like it wasn’t until Avatar that people began to really appreciate everything that cinema has to offer.  Although I would love to say that watching it in the 3d experience is something you can only do in the movies, with the new techonology of 3D television, you can enjoy it in the comfort of your own home.  Friedberg’s intial description of the VCR was great – “The Time-Shift Machine”.  This could not have been a more perfect title because she’s totally right!   VCR were first used to record things coming live off the air, and could now be enjoy at any time.  It also offered mass entertainment without any ethical or p0litical concerns.

On the other hand, Philip Rosen’s reading, for me, was a little bit hard to understand.  It seems as though his title “A Utopia of the Digital” isn’t atually a utopia at all.  He feels that there are hybridities between the indexical and the digital that can either define the digital as being purely nonindexical or make it difficul to define by means of “absolute categorization”.  Rosen talks about a digital utopia critic named Kevin Robins who claimed, “The essence of digital information is that it is inherently maleable.”  (p 817)  I thought this sentence was very interesting because digital information is constantly changing and constantly transforming into something else.  Just when you thought you’ve seen it all, then comes something like the IPad, right?  But Rosen is right – everything digital has stemmed from something that wasn’t digital to begin with.  “The digital utopia involved a constitutive mixture of old and new – something it does not always acknowledge” (p 822).  It is as if Rosen is trying to inform readers that just because something seems impressive because it’s digital, to remember that it stemmed from something that involved “older” and perhaps “less cool”media.  It seems as though he’s just trying to keep that in perspective for all of the technology buffs.  Am I wrong about this?

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2 Comments

  1. btrachtenberg100 Said,

    May 9, 2010 @ 11:13 pm

    When you say “everything the cinema has to offer” in regards to Avatar, you are referring to the spectacle of cinema, in a more escapist sense, rather than an emersive, thought provoking narrative. The mere idea of having a 3D TV in my living room sickens me. I picture the contraption that Jim Carrey as the Riddler, made in Batman Forever, leaving people zombiefied and intoxicated, without even the proper substance abuse. I mean i like seeing 3D films in theatres, I like roller coasters too, but i dont want one in my living room. It frightens me to think that everytime we as a society hit the pinnacle of aesthetic creativity, someone always takes it a little too far. I can tell you one thing though; i wont be implanting any type of SIM card in my brain……..ever

  2. dana318 Said,

    May 12, 2010 @ 12:36 pm

    To Benjamin’s comment above, I understand what you are saying about the 3D television in your living room. But I also understand that with the continuous advancements in technology, the advancements in televisions to meet current theater standards is inevitable.

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