hypertext

Revolution

Haha, yeah, SunnydaleGal is right on; Moulthrop defenitely turns his nose up hard at TV and despite his talk about how egalitarian a medium hypertext could be, he overlooks the fact that "the people" are his hairy and unwashed who have decided they like TV just fine. Whether it's a product of our culture or not is debatable but people by and large are not thoughtful or intellectual; this is why media tends to "default to the lowest common demoninator". That observation is a great way to segue into something I found very interesting about the article: the inherent contradiction between the anarchistic and totally open and free nature of hypertext and the capitalist system of power that underlies both Xanadu and most other forms of hypertext, including the internet. The constraint of a global data network is that it has to be an investment for some company; it has to generate value and revenue in order for anyone to invest in it. Because of this, the idea of an information free for all where everyone can read anything and participate in linking all the information on the internet, the fulfillment of the hypertext community idea, seems to be almost unattainable. The recent turmoil overcopyright law demonstrates that not only is information both valuable and powerful, but that the largest current power distribution system, the economy, has already extended its ideological tentacles deep into the fabric of our global information network. But if the internet were to be a totally unincorporated, grassroots, anti-capitalist system of information exchange, then would it be as successful, and thus as culturally relavent as it is? I don't think so; just as Moulthrop says, the dream of the garage-computer messiahs is dead. Big computing means, for us, big business. So, what is the relationship between a "genuine" medium, a true expression of human thought, and the powers of sponsorship and technology? It seems this has come up before; the history of art deals with this tension between comission and primary artistic motivation. So how does this apply to new media?

Hypertext-o-rama

So the discussion today in class really made me think about the idea of the web being nothing but hypertext, link after link, and I wondered if there was any website like that actually out there. So first of course, there is the wikipedia entry about hypertext, which in itself has a lot of hypertext. HyperWiki But I also came across what I now consider to be a life saver in many ways. Well more of a clarifier of all this jargon that has been thrown at us. I hope that I am not the only one who is having difficulty getting through these readings because of the extensive amount of computer technology jargon. UGH!

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