Crafting Culture

22Sep13

Walter Ong and Jacques Derrida argued that writing is a constant presence in our mental life.  Both Ong and Derrida were cultural philosophers.  It is convenient that through these two philosophers a direct connection between writing and culture was drawn.  Writing and culture cannot exist without the other.

Techne is a Greek term translated into “craftmanship,” “craft,” or “art.”  There is techne for writing, as Jay Bolter discusses in Writing as Technology, which includes writers’ skills, methods, and numerous technological tools.  Techne for culture is not as apparent.  How is culture crafted?  I aim to look at culture and interpret it, and write about observations I make.  I will use the internet, my computer, my fingertips to write.  As I do that I have to think about what tools we have used to create our culture.  It could very well be likely that someone else out there is creating culture just like I am creating written discourse– with the internet, their computers, their fingertips.  The question of how culture is crafted has innumerable answers.  Here I will discuss a few examples.

In our technological society today we have many media forms that produce and deliver images and words to feed our desire for immediate cultural satisfaction.  Videos, articles, songs, shows, movies, magazines, and books all distribute culture.  Media is the techne of culture.  I can view and experience American culture just by turning on the television or flipping through a magazine.  I can view and experience foreign cultures by turning on a travel show or foreign movie.  As we find more ways to connect to content from all around the world, culture becomes more accessible to us.  “All media and media forms… promise immediacy,” says Bolter.  They “offer themselves as immediate experiences.”  These experiences, so accessible, rich, and instantaneous, nurture our cultural appetites.  Oftentimes we just take our cultural doses just as they are.  Now that we understand the techne of culture, we can actually interpret them.

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