What did I just read?

I wanted to understand the selections from Remediation. I tried. I really, really tried. However, in the end, I was left with only confusion and disgust. Confused because I didn’t understand much of what was being said, and disgusted because the prose in this book is a good example of the verbose, obscure academic writing that I’ve come to hate in the last few years. I don’t dispute that Bolter and Grusin have good points to make. I just don’t understand why they’re so opposed to clarity. Have these two academics never read George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language”?

While I had trouble finding the overall meaning of the piece, at least a few of the key points were accessible to me. I actually do agree that there is a strong trend toward the convergence of both immediacy and hypermediacy. All kinds of technologies have been designed and marketed with the intention of removing the barriers between an audience and a medium, e.g., the iPad. The device allows more seamless interaction with media, but it also highlights this interaction with the media. We feel closer to our videos, for instance, but we’re also very aware of this little window sitting in our hands. Reading books on the device diminishes the discrete physical separation of one book from another, yet people love to see the digital animation of the pages turning on the screen.

It’s difficult for me to respond to an argument I don’t understand, so I can’t come up with much more to say. Further, being exposed to that style of academic writing annoyed me enough that I’m afraid I’ll throw out something too incendiary if I keep typing.


3 Comments on “What did I just read?”

  1. Brian Croxall says:

    There’s nothing wrong with incendiary things being posted to this blog. Posting them to my home address, on the other hand…

    I can understand that B&G’s prose is not immediately familiar or easy to understand. But I’m glad to see you thinking about the issues they raise in connection with the iPad. I think your take on this is absolutely correct, which leads me to think you may have got more out of the reading than you thought.

  2. Ani Deshpande says:

    In light of the NEA article we read last week, would you say that digitizing books simply removes barriers or is there something more culturally rooted in our time that needs to be dealt with? I don’t know if remediation is the answer. It maybe more convenient but convenience matters little if there is no interest.

  3. Brittany Stoudemire says:

    I can totally understand where your coming from. I seem to find a lot of things, especially concerning the DH, hard to grasp. On a different note, the fact that you are aware that you didn’t understand might actually be better than someone who thinks they understand, but haven’t grasp the meaning at all.