Then he turned to me and asked me what the story behind the corkscrew was.
I was embarrassed to admit that I was drawing a blank and would need his help. Credo began to run through the list of questions. “How does it amplify us? What does it replace? What does it connect us to? What does it disconnect us from?” He told me that all the questions were just different ways of asking the same thing, and that once I could answer one I could answer them all. “So,” he counseled, “choose one and focus on it.” But I couldn’t even choose a question to focus on, let alone answer.
“No problem,” Credo said with unusual calm, suggesting we approach the exercise more concretely. “What is this?” he probed, dangling the corkscrew in front of me.
“Is this a trick question? That’s a corkscrew.”
“Tell me about it,” Credo coaxed.
“Not much to tell. You use it to open wine bottles.”
“Wourld a culture that didn’t need to store wine in corked bottles have a cork screw?” he asked.
“No,” I said.
“Would a religious culture which abstained from drinking wine have a corkscrew?” Credo inquired.
“Probably not, unless they stored something else in bottles that used corks.”
“Would a child or an arthritic person be able to manipulate a corkscrew like this?”
“Probably not,” I replied. “They’d have to get someone to do it for them.”
“Would a culture, which had not yet discovered the properties of the screw, have a corkscrew?” he probed.
“Would a culture which had not yet invented metallurgy have a corkscrew?” he probed.
“Not like that one,” I assured him.
Jason Ohler might (might) be the new McLuhan, but from my perspective he’s not more accessible. I think some academics should have ladders installed in their underwear so it would be easier for them to climb back down out of that warm dark place… and at times Ohler is so busy going there I fear he may turn inside out. He starts by creating a story, a metaphor, about a character who appears to go on trips and spends time talking to imaginary characters. Oh good grief, just no.
This book is no ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’, no ‘Journey To Ixtlan’, no way to spend a wet afternoon. What’s almost annoying is there are moments of wit and wisdom, but I kept deliberately speeding up my reading to try to find the next nugget of gold amongst the knobs of goat, er, goat herbal by-products. Sadly, I can’t really read that fast, or at least fast enough. I missed stuff. Like the guide part. The for everyone part, because not everyone has a reading age of an academic obfusticator. Living, Learning and Having Fun in the Digital Age. Yeah, right. My advice: wait ’til it comes out on dvd, and then watch on high speed. Jason? Heads up, lad, those of us living in the Digital Age don’t have a lifetime for you to write in the style of drug infused flash backs. If you want to really take a crack at the ‘for everyone’ market (as if you could when no other product gets near it) maybe create something accessible, downloadable, viewable, comprehensible.
Like a nice tv commercial perhaps.