Tuesday, April 1, 2008

male/female, history/archeology

Very early on in his essay, Ernst made a point about how some various interpretations of new media's effect on culture. Though relatively trivial in the grand scheme of his argument, this one point stuck in my mind: 

"...the patriarchal obsession with the world-wide order and hierarchies in current hypertext programming languages as opposed to the digital options of- female?-fluidity." (106) 

Ernest says that these two interpretations belong to British and American culture studies, but there seems to be a parallel between these two ideas and the different between history and archeology as Ernst sees it. 

Media history, on the other hand, includes a catalogue of "losers" and "winners" throughout the passage of time. This loser/winner scheme seemed very similar to the obsession with patriarchal hierarchies that Ernst perceives in hyptertext programming.  

On the next page, Ernst says that dynamic hypertexts (which he lables as feminine) will turn memory itself into "passing drama" mainly because they are fluid, and ever changing. 

Although not his project in this essay, this gendered dynamic Ernst observes in passing could be something significant that I'm sure other theorists, who have a better understanding of this world than I, have examined further. And if they haven't yet, perhaps they should. 

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