14.0478 Epstein's revolution

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: 11/08/00

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 478.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
       [1]   From:    Patricia Galloway <galloway@gslis.utexas.edu>       (16)
             Subject: Re: 14.0472 Epstein's revolution
       [2]   From:    Jascha Kessler <jaschak@earthlink.net>             (210)
             Subject: Re: 14.0472 Epstein's revolution
             Date: Wed, 08 Nov 2000 09:42:56 +0000
             From: Patricia Galloway <galloway@gslis.utexas.edu>
             Subject: Re: 14.0472 Epstein's revolution
    Replying to Patrick Rourke's reservations about Epstein (and concurring
    with many), I still must as an alectronic records archivist hope that
    the situation about totally ephemeral authorial revisions won't be quite
    what he Rourke pessimistically envisions. People trying to create
    archives for "born-digital" documents are attempting to craft solutions
    that would indeed prevent deleted versions (by at least known authors)
    from withering away from random bit rot--instead, they should be
    jealously gobbled up and treasured by those who are interested in
    collecting corpora. It seems clear to me that the tasks of archivists
    are going to change radically, but that doesn't mean that managing
    multiple versions will be that difficult a task as long as a discovery
    mechanism is set in place and the copyright laws don't interpret fair
    use out of existence (we may be goners already).
    Pat Galloway
    Graduate School of Library and Information Science
    University of Texas-Austin
             Date: Wed, 08 Nov 2000 09:43:38 +0000
             From: Jascha Kessler <jaschak@earthlink.net>
             Subject: Re: 14.0472 Epstein's revolution
    while we are talking about the capacity to change texts in electronic
    editions, two English writers come immediately to mind, the first being of
    course, as cited, Auden, in I think "1939."  The line he expunged at the
    last from the revised collected poems is the famous one, "We must love one
    another or die."  Auden remarked, famously, "We die anyway."  That of course
    changes a hell of a lot: the first was connected with the pre-WW II
    situation, when he opted out of the Battle of Britain, with Isherwood, both
    evading the US INS be forgetting that they had traveled earlier to China on
    the Red Carpet, meaning a news assignment paid for by Moscow gold.  (They
    had a lot of fun there anyway.)  Auden was talking of the necessity for
    let's call it not Eros, but Agape, in the broadest sense.  In the end, his
    sadness and depression got to him, and didnt give a damn about love or
    loving, which is sad for a poet of his sort...he needed love, and asked for
    it...out of childhood, say, characterizing himself as an "anal passive."
    The much more serious observation is to remind us all about Orwell's
    notorious "memory hole," the bank of editing oubliettes served by
    writer/editor slaves like Winston Smith, in 1984.  History was altered
    simply by cutting out, forging new pictures of leaders, as with the
    Politburo, rewriting the old newspapers and books, and slipping the old
    papers into that slot over the furnace.  The Great Soviet Encyclopedia is
    what Orwell had in mind, among other things, which was notorious for
    replacing the leaders at May Ceremonies with new heads, after the old ones
    had been, so to say, lopped.  He who controls the past controls the future;
    he who controls the future controls the present.  Orwell hadnt imagined our
    volatile and labile servers, but we are arriving at that condition via the
    great open freedom of the internet, which is paradoxical and should give us
    pause indeed.  Though, even as we stand and muse, paused, we will be shoved
    from behind, or is it from the future...and end flat on our faces, the "gun"
    pressing behind our ear, and ...whose finger on the trigger?  There is no
    controlling this oncoming condition, I suspect.  Big Brother is a jocular
    term.  It will be instead a Global Village, and it takes a Village to
    suppress the individual, easily done.  John Savage, it will be recalled, was
    plucked from the "reservation" in BRAVE NEW WORLD (1936?), brought the only
    copy of Shakespeare left, a book that startled his friend the copywriter for
    ads in the Brave New World, which had this mantra, much like ours today in
    MP3 musics: Orgy porgy, Ford and Fun...etc.  That 20th Century was full of
    prophecy, it would seem, and much of those will soon be forgotten, and lost
    to the electronical libraries where who is or what is controlling access?
    Etc.  Alas.
       Jascha Kessler
       Professor of English & Modern Literature, UCLA
       Telephone: (310) 393-4648  (9:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m. PST)
       Fax: (360) 838-8589/VoiceMail 24 hours (360) 838-8589

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