Ode to the Gutenberg Parenthesis
I’m a big fan of the Gutenberg Parenthesis Theory, which I was introduced to by media philosopher Alejandro Piscitelli. On a recent plane ride I decided to exercise my mind and write a little poem. It’s actually potentially part of a larger project I’m dabbling in. You can also listen to the audio clip below. For more resources, check out my Diigo folder on the subject. Or you can view a relatively old (2012) Prezi keynote I created. Another book I’m reading at the moment, Clive Thompson’s Smarter Than You Think, discusses the shift to public thinking to a greater extent. And of course I’m heavily influenced by the great work on New / Digital Literacies by Doug Belshaw.
G is for Gutenberg Parenthesis which gives us perspective;
Now privileging print is purely elective.
We’re moving forward to the past
Ong’s Second Orality is here at last
Just a blip in History
Now text can finally be free
Re-contextualize, remix and play
Like they did in Shakespeare’s Day
It’s a theory but clear to see
We’re changed by our technology
Is Twitter writing or is it speech –
Or some whacky hybrid beast?
Socrates might be amused
With writing, he feared our memory we’d lose.
With the advent of the printing press
Democracy of knowledge – easy access
But ideas were crystallized,
Ossified and petrified
Bound in leather, stagnant, “owned”
Difficult to amend, impossible to loan
The printed word was dominated
By so-called “experts”, elevated
The Internet ushered in a new paradigm
Where authors will give their readers time
We must embrace the post-parenthetical
Even if it’s hypothetical
Writing is living – it morphs and it breathes
A conversation between the cover sleeves
From printing press to press release
Our public thinking has increased
What does the word “literacy” mean
In an age of viral videos,
Blogs, Wikis, and Memes?