Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Comm 226: Comments on Orality and Writing

Hey, I am about to hit the road here after a long day in the office and I wanted to make a few comments about orality and writing as I listen to the new Mos Def. Hip Hop culture, perhaps more than any other form of recent popular culture, is firmly committed to "oral culture", a culture where you either know it or you don't. I can't imagine a rapper getting on stage and freestyling with lyrics in hand. No "skillz" right? There is still something heroic and respected about this type of knowledge where one can remember a lengthy rap and deliver it with such ease and flow that it' mastery must be recognized. Given that hip hop is the most popular form of pop culture there is today, here is something for us to remember: perhaps we have quite a bit of an interest in orality today.

That said, for the most part the key issues of power, identity and technology seemed to those that really hit home for many of you. Do yourself a favor and go back and re-read those readings this weekend and instead of thinking of Egyptian Pharoahs and priests, think about the power that mass media corporations, programmers, and franchises have in terms of "branding" and creating a following of readers and loyalists. Despite our relatively high levels of literacy and scientific knowledge, many of us still feel the need to identify with something larger than ourselves. I keep thinking of fandom in mass society and how that is constructed (and how our fandom constructs who we are and with whomewe identify). What is it about our identities that somehow are connected to mass produced and distributed texts like baseball games (hey, most of the sports we watch is on TV and TV isn't natural: it is a produced text)? I hope you will mull this over tonight and tomorrow.

By the way, your pictures can be found by clicking here. Check out what y'all look like at 9:30am. Show your friends!


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