This is the most interesting discussion I've seen on CASLL in years!
It seems to me that Sandy has it exactly right. Tufte seems to be
arguing that the medium creates the message absolutely, but I don't
think that even McLuhan would agree that we are helpless in the power of
a medium. He only says that we are helpless if we don't understand the
Russ's idea of "affordances and constraints" works well here, I think.
Media don't absolutely dictate what we can do, but they make some things
easier and others harder, and human nature being what it is, we tend to
do what's easier. Hence page indexing was possible before the printing
press, but would have been so difficult that nobody ever bothered.
PPt makes certain kinds of dumb presentation easier -- even easier than
acetate, which has created many a dumb presentation. Being forced to
talk without slides makes it harder to do some of the dumb things people
do with powerpoint (the dumbest of which, IMHO, is to create a brilliant
presentation and then never change it for twenty years). I do believe
that the tool leads us, not unshakably but pretty firmly, in certain
directions. Which makes things like Jo-Anne's class on the rhetoric of
powerpoint all the more important. It IS powerful, so we let out
students misunderstand it at our peril.
Sandy Dorley wrote:
>>Having sat through many bad PPt presentations, I feel compelled to jump into the conversation here. Part of the problem with PPt is not the technology (although it is limiting in many ways) but with the user. Isn't this a little bit of the "medium and the message" -- where the technology has both aided bad presentations and caused them?
>>An interesting article appeared November 10, 2003 in The Toronto Star --page D5 entitled "Countering 'death by PowerPoint'" that gives a similar perspective from the business point of view.
>>The problem is that it is now de riguer in meetings, classrooms, and offices. And the question is how to teach our students to use it without being subsumed by the robotic/hypnotic possibilities.
>>My colleagues and I sense a paper in this..........with PPT presentations to our faculty!
>>School of Liberal Studies
>>Professor of Communications
>>[log in to unmask]
Dr. Doug Brent
Associate Dean (Academic)
Faculty of Communication and Culture, University of Calgary
2500 University Drive N.W.
Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4
Voice: (403) 220-5458 Fax: (403) 282-6716
To leave the list, send a SIGNOFF CASLL command to
[log in to unmask] or, if you experience difficulties,
write to Russ Hunt at [log in to unmask]
For the list archives and information about the organization,
its newsletter, and the annual conference, go to