Reading Response 7: Remediation

Jay David Bolter, and Richard Grusin mention an idea from a movie, "the wire".

"If the ultimate purpose of media is indeed to transfer sense experiences from one person to another, the wire threatens to make all media obsolete."

I found two things interesting. The first being the thought of a world dominated by this wire. Like a drug, the wire could directly alter perspective through jolting your 5 senses because it would pinpoint certain location on your brain that excite you for example. Just like cocaine or any other drug, enzymes pinpoint a certain sensory system, and affect your feelings. The wire would do just the same without the harmful enzymes, probably with electrical current instead. This would in fact destroy all media for 2 reasons I thought. One is mentioned in the reading, media is supposed to relay sense experiences from one person to another, but you wouldn't need any other form of media except the wire if all you wanted to do was feel a certain way. Second would be that people would get so sucked into the wire, more than say a virtual reality like Second Life, and probably a lot of people would become dependant on it, giving them little or no time to watch TV, or read a book. And the latter two would seem like a waste of time since all you had to do was plug yourself in for the same effect.

The second interesting thing was the wording of the quote in the beginning. It seems like the authors disagree that the ultimate purpose of media is to transfer sense experiences. If not, then I disagree with the above quote. I for one do not read a book to experience what the author was trying to portray, not to share my findings at a book club meeting, but to enjoy my time escaping into a land filled with magic or suspense. There are so many other reasons than to "transfer sense experiences". However, I also do not agree with the media becoming obsolete. The book did not disappear after TV was invented, and the radio still exists as well, although not as main stream. So I would argue that "the wire" would alter the media industry but so-called olf fashioned forms of media would not just disappear. People will always have uses for TV, watching movies is "fun", what better reasons than that to watch TV? "The wire" wouldn't be able to create a social atmosphere; socializing can be done through watching TV, or listening to the radio and singing along in a car. I mean, although this idea of being able to feel the way you want to seems great, without the ups and downs of life, and without tangible evidence of your experiences, it would be just like a dream; there may be good feelings for a moment, but they are forgotten. You wouldn't have "memories" just feelings, and I for one would not want to live in a world where feelings dominate over memories. What's the point of living if all you remember were feelings, and you didn't have a childhood to look back on, only the feelings related to the thought. Scary.

Well, remediation seems like a scary thought in itself, making us unaware of media's grasp/effect on us. Especially after reading books like 1980 it is impossible to fear for such a world. I think being unaware of a source of a feeling would be like mind control or hypnotsm. You shouldn't be able to feel something without knowing where this feeling is coming from, or at least you should be able to find out. If you touch a fire it burns (hurts), if you take away this simple fact, if you take away this awarness, then you'll keep burning your hand, thinking it's something else. Like I mentioned before, it would be like a drug addiction, and before you know it, you would have spent so much time sucked into what the media has to offer that you have lost everything else.