Class 21: Does Language Influence Thought? Revisited
Held Tuesday, November 9, 1999
- Thesis paragraph for research paper (Due Tuesday, October 26, 1999).
- What helped to unify the people of France so that the French Revolution
could take place?
- When focusing on only one aspect of a concept by using a metaphor, is it
possible to completely miss other aspects of the concept?
- We use a simile or a metaphor when we try to learn or perceive new things.
It is usually done in this manner: if A is not like B, it may be like
C, which is unlike B. Are there other ways of thinking when we try to
comprehend new things?
- Bolter implies that modern technologies like the television (and virtual
reality equipments) cannot provide us the same intellectual experience as
printed books. What does this tell us about the cultural depth and integrity
of the new generation, who spend so much time with these technologies, as
compared to older generations?
- How does the context Internet browsers arrives (i.e. the title and/or page
that the people are coming from) at a web page affect what they take
away from that website and how they interpert the information on the
- Is the Internet affecting people who haven't even used it yet? How?
- I was very nearly offended by the McLuhan piece. Throughout the
article I felt as though he was being condescending and rude toward
anyone and everyone who doesn't immediately see his point. He spoke
of "Narcissus" when describing some authors who didn't see things as
he did and treated other authors as genius when he found even the
smallest evidence to support his "medium is the message" babble. Does
this condescending, narcissistic attitude help McLuhan to get his
point across? I didn't find that it did but perhaps others saw
support for his hypothesis by his very attitude.
- Also in the McLuhan piece, he spoke of Alexis de Tocqueville and his
comparison of America to France. I have read de Tocqueville for
another class (If I find the article, I'll bring it), and he was
comparing two cultures and political feelings, not anything about
media. Does this discredit McLuhan? If I find that one source is
contrary to the hypothesis, can it be assumed that others will be as
- What is wrong with Bolter? His arguments in chapter 13 go all over the
place and accomplish nothing: Isn't there a semiotic component to
physical stimulus?!? What else but a metaphor is the heart-shaped symbol
by which we imply love? How can he claim that stimulus-oriented media
are impoverished of semiotic content?
- To what extent should we view media as resources? Exactly how
powerful is the medium in determining the value or effects of the
- Created Monday, March 22, 1999 as a blank outline. (Can you tell
what I was doing during Spring break?)