NT – blog 1

By Mike Lew

Well, since there are multiple readings, I figure I’ll just recording my reaction to each one separately.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act

First of all, I would like to narrow the field of focus on discussion for this article.  As a computer science major, only Title II of this act really concerns me.  I believe that this section of the document is the only one that is really relevant to a course entitled “Narrative and Technology” as well.  Now I will proceed to rant in the fashion that one would expect from a poorly-informed yet highly opinionated guy posting on the internet.

ISPs giving out personal information of its users to third parties (and worse, for legal measures)?  Ridiculous!  I don’t understand how this could be in any way constitutional, and despite an explanation listed at section 512 subsection m, I refuse to find out!  The law tries to automate this process by taking the human factor out of the transmission process (transmission of a user’s personal information).  It seems as though this is designed as a scheme for some well funded organization to shotgun queries faster than the speed of light across all over the place in order to control information they deem to be their own.  One example of what I mean by this is the initial mass deletion of youtube videos which used music from signed artists.  Not only were videos which hosted this content taken down, but all parodies of the original, videos which used a legal portion of said content (under 30 seconds), and even completely unrelated videos whose background sound remotely resembled some song unintentionally.  As a guy who listed to a speech by Richard Stallman once, I personally believe that there should be a great amount of freedom concerning what an individual may post on the internet.  After all, a lot of people have a lot of great ideas that end up being the same thing.  It is too easy for one person to demand ownership of an idea even if this idea was independently generated be someone else.  This of course includes reasonable limitations, such as claiming credit for a novel.  However, it is easy to prove ownership of something so complicated – just publish it using a non-electronic medium first.

This brings me to another point.  Original works published to a public domain should be considered public domain!  If you mean to store private information then don’t post it on the internet.  Well, enough of that.

The Library of Babel

[By the way, if this style of writing is too cynical, then I’ll be much more considerate in the next post.  However, most blogs I’ve read tend to be equally cynical in nature, so I guess that’s how its supposed to be done.]

Here we have an intricate analogy of life told in a way so mind-blowingly sophic that it escapes reality.  The author, Jorge Borges is truly a man beyond wisdom.  Just kidding, this work is filled with logical errors.  Let’s take a quick look this man’s vision of God:

“The mystics claim that their ecstasy reveals to them a circular chamber containing a great circular book, whose spine is continuous and which follows the complete circle of the walls; but their testimony is suspect; their words, obscure. This cyclical book is God.)”

Immediately something pops out at me.  If the spine of the book follows the completely circle of the walls, then then entire book in enclosed in a spherical spine, with pages perhaps ring-shaped on the inside.  How could a man enter a room whose borders are impenetrable? (There’s a room-sized book in the way).   No doubt their testimony is suspect.

There’s other stuff, too.  Like how the picture caption states “By this art you may contemplate the variations of the 23 letters…” but the law of Library states that there are only 22 letters.

But I guess I should stop being so analytical.  After all, if you don’t pay attention to what the author is saying, then its a pretty interesting story.  The key is not trying to figure out what the author’s real message is, because aside from the logical errors, the rest is incoherent.  Overall, this story seems to be very philosophical in nature, yet impossible for me to deconstruct.  Therefore, I’ll claim the position of the great Sicilian philosopher, Vizzini (from The Princess Bride, of course) and deem a true explanation of this text, “inconceivable.”  So before you tell me, “That word. I do not think it means what you think it means,” I’ll move on to the next article.

My Body

I really do not know what to say about this site.  It appears as though some alien author has inhabited a human host and wrote about all the minute and every-day sensations they experienced.  I’ve never tripped on a hallucinogenic drug, but now I think I know what an out-of-body experience would feel like.  Or, I suppose, a way-too-attentive-to-stupid-things in-body experience.

This site is mostly a tribute to how the author uses a given body part, and then their influences when drawing it.  Perhaps it is meant to be an inspiration to future generations of artists.  Post-avant-garde stuff always seems to elude my level of understanding.  You know, like how some guy writes the word “vengeance” in red and black paint on a canvas and sells it for 10 million dollars.  I once had an idea for a crazy painting like that: invent some kind of tie-dye paint fountain and get a famous baseball player to bat-splatter paint unto a canvas.  Some other guy did something similar with darts and water balloons, you know.  But anyways, I cannot glean any further insight into the reason why The Body and its collection of memories was published online.


At first glance, this thing looked pretty cool.  It reminded me of those “choose-your-adventure” novels that were popular in elementary school.  More likely would be the text adventure games popular before graphical computer games came out, but I’m not old enough to remember those.  Because this game is all about asking Galatea questions, it was disappointing that I could not use what, why, when, how, who.  Although her story is more compelling because you, the user, is trying to draw it from her, there was no sense of satisfaction in reading it.  Perhaps it was the line of questioning I chose, but all of her responses seemed quite depressing.  I was compelled to leave her after she said, “”What is there to know?” she exclaims bitterly.  “What’s left to say?  He left mehere!  What use am I without him?  I make no sense to anyone but him…”

There is a pause.  “Except, of course, that people like you will come stare and prod at me asthough I were produce at a market.  Oh, God, that I had never come awake at all.  Whatuse is there in this?  And you, you just stand there watching me as though I werea spectacle made for your amusement and all my grief were only art and posture.”

(Is it possible?)”

But I didn’t.  I lingered on, prying deeper into her sad state of existence until I finally abandoned her like the rest.  The conversation ended with this thought,

“She shakes her head.  “I woke up,” she says.  “For him, because he longed for something sobadly that I — a block of stone — began to have feelings.  But now…  Now I don’t want thegift.”

You shiver in a sudden blast of air conditioning.

You open your mouth to tell her that that’s impossible, that she’ll have to live withwhatever her feelings are.

I couldn’t type anything after that so I guess it ended.  Nothing seemed to resolve, though.  I wonder if there was a happy ending programmed into that site.


~ by MikeL on January 18, 2011.

One Response to “NT – blog 1”

  1. I completely agree with your assessment of Galatea. I found it wholly unsatisfying. The sad state of a perfectly carved marble statue doesn’t not make for good conversation. In the end that’s exactly what it was, a conversation, rather than a narrative.

    I thought it was interesting that you focused on the logical arguments, or lack there of, in Library of Babel. I kind of ignored those and focused more on the philosophical points he was making about society. I wonder what you thought about why the narrator had logical inconsistencies.

    As for the DCMA, I’m surprised that you thought that only one act pertained to you. There was a whole section on the rights and responsibilities of institutions over and pertaining to their members (universities and their students/teachers). I agree that there should be a great amount of freedom, but how does a society protect its members from abuses of that freedom?

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