Monday, January 2, 2006

Taking potshots at Smartbomb

Just finished reading this Newsweek interview with Smartbomb authors Aaron Ruby & Heather Chaplin.

While I'm not a huge fan of the book (might be of interest to some, but I echo Dellaro's sentiments on it), I felt bad for the authors as they were definitely facing a confrontational interviewer for this. It's one thing to ask difficult questions; It's another thing to approach an interview with a bias, which is clearly the case here.

An aside: At one point Chaplin compares the animosity toward games to that of other media, and states "Socrates thought the oral tradition would die because of the printed world". I'm no history buff, but didn't Socrates live something like 1200 years before the Chinese invented printing? Did she mean the written world, or did she mean someone other than Socrates?


Darius Kazemi said...

I'm pretty sure the interviewer was referring to Socrates but meant to say writing instead of printing.

In Greek culture, use of the alphabet was not limited to a class of religious scribes, but specifically was beginning to be used in the wider, secular culture. This change greatly upset the philosophers of the time, including Socrates and Plato, who believed that because you could not have an argument with a written statement, that writing was specifically suited to misleading the audience. Plato and Socrates feared that the onset of literacy would mean the end of dialogue, of a face-to-face interactivity.

Anyone interested can read more about it in the article “From Utterance to Text: The Bias of Language in Speech and Writing", by David R. Olson.

(See, my minor in rhetoric comes in handy sometimes! And that thesis I wrote on resistance to new media as seen through video games probably helps, too...)

Anonymous said...

Any Author who would state that "You are just too old to get it" while espousing the virtues of a game console created by a company helmed and managed by people "too old to get it", are assholes. I had no further interest in reading the article beyond that point. sounds like they were the same people going nuts over ordering groceries and getting "just in time" snacks, dog food, and any other possible service, via the web. Hype pisses me off, and I am a Marketing Director!

Kim, are you too old to get it?

KimPallister said...

Darius: Thanks! Interesting and yes, useful!

John: I thought that comment was a bit off-putting too. I've met the authors (see post here: and it didn't seem like them. I wonder whether the interview had already turned confrontational by that point, or if it was taken out of context and meant to be tongue-in-cheek? Anyhoo.

And yes, I'm too old to get anything. Back to matlock now.