“Therefore all data flows, if they were real streams of data, had to pass through the defile of the signifier. Alphabetic monopoly, grammatology.”—Friedrich Kittler - Gramophone, Film, Typewriter (via eddieftw) There’s something perfect about the phrase “alphabetic monopoly, grammatology.”
"The aural sense is becoming dominant again. People are getting their information primarily by hearing it. They are literate, but their primary source is the radio, the telephone, the TV set. The radio and the telephone are obviously aural media, but so is television, in McLuhan’s theory. The American TV picture has very low defini tion. It is not three-dimensional, like a movie or a photograph, but two-dimensional, like a Japanese print or a cartoon. The viewer fills in the spaces and the contours with his mind, as he does with a cartoon. Therefore, the TV viewer is more involved in the TV image than in the movie image, he is so busy running over the image with his eye, filling in this and that. He practically reaches out and touches it. He participates; and he likes that.
Studies of TV children-children of all social classes who are used to getting their information primarily by television-studies of this new generation show that they do not focus on the whole picture, the way literate adults do when they watch a movie. They scan the screen for details; their eyes run all over the screen, focusing on holsters, horses’ heads, hats, all sorts of little things, even in the fiercest gun battles. They watch a TV show the way a nonliterate African tribesman watches a movie
But exactly! The TV children, a whole generation of Americans, the oldest ones are now twenty-five years old-they are the new tribesmen. They have tribal sensory balances. They have the tribal habit of responding emotionally to the spoken word, they are “hot,” they want to participate, to touch,to be involved. On the one hand, they can be more easily swayed by things like demagoguery. The visual or print man is an individualist; he is “cooler,” with built-in safeguards. He always has the feeling that no matter what anybody says, he can go check it out. The necessary information is filed away somewhere, categorized. He can look it up. Even if it is something he can’t look up and check out-for example, some rumor like “the Chinese are going to bomb us tomorrow”-his habit of mind is established. He has the feeling: All this can be investigated- looked into. The aural man is not so much of an individualist; he is more a part of the collective consciousness; he believes.”