Monday, February 4, 2008

Gotta Hit the Sites Because I'm Always Surfin'

In her chapter "Writing for the Internet," Camille Paglia presents a generally positive and progressive take on the Web. While I may not agree with her methods of making text look attractive to lure in readers, I'm sure there is some validity to it. (See my comment on Ted's article.) I also found her candidness refreshing. Her article is written as if it were to be presented on the Web, as opposed to being geared toward the highly literate Academia. Paglia has a very good understanding of the "world" she's writing about, especially when she speaks to "The Web [as having] a weather, particularly when news events unleash storms of popular sentiment." [P. 268] She also is aware of how the internet altered her writing style. While she may write within the AP standard for a print paper, she finds herself more casual online. I have noticed the same pattern myself, where I'm liable to slip into a gonna or gotta. Both words, I should mention, are not picked up by the spell check of Blogger, Adium or Gmail. The same goes for alright. It just goes to show how the evolution of the internet has changed some interpretations of proper spelling.

About half of Stuart Moulthrop's essay "Getting Over the Edge" reads like an internet alarmist's diatribe. While the text progresses, it explores what hypertext real is, shriking the alarmist attitude and settling down for a reasoned argument of hypertext. Moulthrop is primarily concerned with how our understanding of an object can change with hypertext. As Moulthrop puts it, "The experience of reading for any two people who traverse its verbal space may be radically different: 'polylogue,' not monologue." [P. 259] While no two people can walk away from a book with exactly te same interpretation, hypertext means that each reading is inherently different, some will skip over a reference or read them all. It changes the reading itself. One the earliest, and best examples, I ever came across of a hypertext was this site which I believe I stumbled upon in 2003 or 4. It's very simple, and recently had a video added which defeats a little of the hypertext. The site is really just a teacher's rendering of the lyrics of "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel but it is meant to serve as a teacher's tool to recent United States history. Literally every word in the lyrics to the song is a link to another article. There are more, and better, examples out there, but this, to me, speaks to the usefulness of hypertext. Instead of just hearing the events, one can look a bit deeper and examine what "children of thalidomide" really means.

(Title from "" by The Damned, see below.)

1 comment:

Lance Strate said...

Yes, annotation is a precursor of hypertext--excellent example! And a fine point as well about the change in language towards a more colloquial, oral quality, as Judith Yaross Lee wrote about in relation to e-mail.