Tuesday, May 15, 2001

If I want to embarass my husband, all I need is to remind him of how he felt about the books I liked to read, back when we were young and new to this living-together-thing. I like fantasy, particularly the kind with flashy, colourful covers. He likes what he thinks of as serious literature, and he bought Olav Duun "Mennesket og Maktene" as a present to cheer me up when I was sick. It was my birthday, I had fever and all I wanted was an escape - and he brings me the most miserable piece of social realism he could find.

Over the years I have been permitted to take my little collection of fantasy into all the rooms of the appartment, he no longer blushes when people see what I read. This interest for fantasy has also been the source of many of the nice things in life. The fact that I had a lot of comic books helped my dyslectic son to learn how to read, the series of Tolkien, Lewis and others in both Norwegian and English helped both kids to learn english fast and easy, computer games has, beside of becoming a professional pursuit, been hours of family entertainment - it's possible to talk of a computer game as well as a tv-series, if you all try it out, you know.

But when I read academic literature, I am reminded of my husband's initial reaction to having Mercedes Lackey and Marion Zimmer Bradley in the bookshelves. Typical traits of popular cultur, like the swift and easy reuse of a topic, a plot, a fictional framework between different media is being discovered as typical of the new media. Bolter and Grusin (1999), in Remediation, go back to McLuhan's claim that the content of a medium is always an other medium, and based on this they write: "we call the representation of one medium in another remediation, and we will argue that remediation is a defining characteristic of the new digital media."

I have no problem with part one of that sentence: remediation sounds like a good word for it. What I have a problem with is part two, where they leap from an observation by McLuhan, which while it might appear to us to be prophetic, was actually a statement about his time based on his observations in that time, and not some vision of times past.

Visions like that, we should leave to Ormus in "The Ground Beneath Her Feet" by Salman Rushdie, looking into his parallell universe. (But as you might remember, Marshall McLuhan isn't entirely of this world either, so perhaps it is prophetic?)

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