Tuesday, November 05, 2013


The Medium and the Message

Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862), Walden, chapter I (Economy):
We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate. Either is in such a predicament as the man who was earnest to be introduced to a distinguished deaf woman, but when he was presented, and one end of her ear trumpet was put into his hand, had nothing to say. As if the main object were to talk fast and not to talk sensibly.
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), Miscellanies (London: Methuen and Co., 1908), pp. 294-295:
It is, no doubt, a great advantage to talk to a man at the Antipodes through a telephone; its advantage depends entirely on the value of what the two men have to say to one another. If one merely shrieks slander through a tube and the other whispers folly into a wire, do not think that anybody is very much benefited by the invention.

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