Early Film and the magical world of “Ether”

1)      Boddy articulates the diverse views and uses of the burgeoning “wireless” movement very well through a largely social shaping view of technology.  It is interesting to think that radio was viewed as strengthening local communities as well as nationalism and even globalism; as a godlike medium and yet associated with the occult; as an interactive toy for men/boys and as a passive companion for women/girls.  I found the last tension especially interesting and led me to wonder if technologies are still largely gendered?  Of course ipod mini is for girls (I kid) and video games are traditionally seen as a male medium, but what about other technologies?  Is this simply due to the way certain technologies are marketed or are there other factors to be considered? 

2)      Czitrom did a great job of showing how culture, and even understanding what constitutes “culture”, changes with the onset of new technologies.  As he writes early on in chapter two, “…the motion picture confronted the accepted standards of culture itself” (p. 30).  During a time when “culture” was seen as a process of self and social betterment, the early Nickelodeons seemed to be at odds with this lofty goal due to their ties to vaudeville, dark/dank store front theatres, and the fact that it was usually frequented by the poorest of the working class (low brow indeed).  However, I would argue that film is now viewed as a highbrow art form.  How did this happen?  Is the shift in the accepted standards of culture ultimately the birth of “Pop culture”? 

3)      Both Boddy and Czitrom mention a fascination with telepathy after the invention of wireless technologies.  Boddy quotes Harvard professor John Trowbridge as writing, “…The nerves of the whole world are, so to speak, being bound together, so that a touch in one country is transmitted instantly to a far-distant one” (p. 13).  A global united nervous system?  Who does this remind you of?  Someone was plagiarizing!


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