Sorry, Gutenberg. Back to the drawing board.

I guess Gutenberg got it wrong. The written word is woefully inadequte to communicating anything but facts and data. (If you can’t read the sarcasm in that, you’re just not trying.)  I wrote about this from an email point-of-view. I’d just like to quote three passages.

I onward go, I stop,
With hinged knees and steady hand to dress wounds,
I am firm with each, the pangs are sharp yet unavoidable,
One turns to me his appealing eyes—poor boy! I never knew you,
Yet I think I could not refuse this moment to die for you, if that would save you.

— Walt Whitman, The Wound-Dresser

Out of infinite longings rise
finite deeds like weak fountains,
falling back just in time and trembling.
And yet, what otherwise remains silent,
our happy energies—show themselves
in these dancing tears.

— Rainer Maria Rilke, The Book of Images

There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands’ necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge.

— Raymond Chandler, “Red Wind”


1 Comment »

  1. […] Posted by Nancy on April 2, 2009 Monday, I criticized the idea that email should be used for only data and facts, because email with emotional content “is so often misunderstood” according to Mr. Edward Muzio. As if facts can’t be misunderstood or that the written word can’t communicate emotional content effectively. […]

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