Chapter 2What to Make of Media?

The introduction of new media has always alarmed the arbiters of education and knowledge. Socrates worried about an overdependence on the alphabet. He thought that writing words down, instead of committing them to memory, would lead to less depth of understanding, preferring oral language and performed poetry instead. The religious establishment of the 1400s did not like the idea of the printing press and its potential for enabling a larger number of people to read what it deemed the wrong things. Novels and other works of fiction were once disdained as unsophisticated (those lies! corrupting fantasies!). Radio, telephones, and comic books have all had their detractors.

Over the past several decades, screen ...

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