4.0303 Hypertextuality; On Roszak... (corrected) (2/70)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Fri, 20 Jul 90 18:31:31 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0303. Thursday, 19 Jul 1990.

(1) Date: Wed, 18 Jul 90 23:15:38 EDT (54 lines)
Subject: Hypertextuality, Memory limits

(2) Date: Thu, 19 Jul 90 10:58 PDT (16 lines)
Subject: Re: 4.0289 Memory, Information, and Knowledge

[The copy of this digest (4.0303) that was posted yesterday was
corrupted by listserv. A&E]
(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 90 23:15:38 EDT
Subject: Hypertextuality, Memory limits

Re: Hypertextuality, Nissan
Fixed memory

Humanists may appreciate (?) Saffire's comment in this Sunday's NYT

"One word, one meaning, is my motto; when you use an
alternative form to mean the same thing, you have wasted
valuable space on the hard disk of your memory, and you have
blocked the development of a different meaning."

[Saffire is writing about eschewing "denouncement" in favor of

It seems to me Nissan (onomata) would disagree. Nissan's delightful
dissertation on double meaning and neologizing seems to indicate he
favors a democratic, living language. His (projected) disagreement with
Saffire is twice curious. (1) Nissan is obviously close to Saffire's
politics. (2) His understanding of hypertext is decidedly autocratic
(as in here is a tool that will let me impose endless layers on my

Which brings me to my main point. The additional dimension(s) made
possible by hypertext are viewed rather flatly if the social
possibilities, [multiple authorship rather than multiple levels], are
ignored. True, hypertext allows text to become "Holographic" (multi
dimensional). So do parentheses, notes. But the most interesting added
dimension is that of authorship. As the first generation of those
thinking about hypertextuality it is our responsibility to shape the
social construction of these tools. I'd much rather harness this new
technology as a liberating one, than use it as glorified, electronic

For example: I completely disagree with Nissan's politics, and most of
his interpretations. (I really do). But I'd love to get my hands on
his book. If only because it would give me pleasure to add my own
neologisms and interpretations. I may retitle the work, by dropping a
few letters: Midei Muddi --> Dai Dai. I may add my own interpretation
to "hatrifenu" - as derived from "taref". I may even be tempted to
rhyme my own lyrics to Volare... or look for some verse in "Alilot Mikki
Mahu" that would sound good to that tune.

Think about hypertext mostly as a tool that overthrows the tyranny
of the author over reader! Hypertext is about DIFFUSING control.

...in expectation of Nissan's response)

Sheizaf Rafaeli
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------257---
Date: Thu, 19 Jul 90 10:58 PDT
Subject: Re: 4.0289 Memory, Information, and Knowledge (4/110)

To Sawtelle: As I recall my review of Roszak's book, I thought it
superficial and highly tendentious, a kneejerk from the 60's. The
level of thought is tawdry and obvious. Take your quotation about
information. Thoreau said it better and more interestingly, more
politically too, in WALDEN, in the 1840's: I am not quoting him, but
rephrasing him: People boast about the new telegraph that will connect
Texas to Massachusetts (or Maine). But suppose Massachusetts has
nothing to say to Texas?

That is more to the point than thinking like Roszak that we cannot think
as fast as the machines that transmit our thoughts. Kessler at UCLA