The Changing Spaces of Reading and Writing

Mixing molten lead and Blackberries

Goss press

When I think of the technology of text, something like the image above (a small Goss newspaper press) usually comes to mind.  The first time I saw one, I was impressed by the size and mechanical complexity of it.  Later, when I met some of the older pressmen, they told me stories of the hot lead days–a few even had scars on their forearms from when the slugs (letter forms) would jam as they were sliding into place and, if the pressmen weren’t quick enough, hot lead would spray on to their arms.

Last week, I walked behind a student in the hall madly jabbing her thumbs at a tiny cell phone.  The presses always made me think of the New York Times, democracy, mass distribution, and public debate.  The cell phone makes me think: “c u l8tr” and a rendezvous at the mall. How does the medium shape the message?


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