Reflections on The Post, (1 of 3)

First, The Post is terrific, extremely relevant, and as well acted as you’d expect from the likes of Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and Bradley Whitford.

One scene has been haunting me since I watched the film. There were several shots of the printing process: not merely the newspapers flying down a conveyor, but also the man sitting at a keyboard, typing, to place each physical letter block for the press into place into line.  All together, these would become the block of letters which make up a story, which is fit into the place on a page to be literally pressed into ink and onto paper.

Yeah, you say, so what? I have seen printing presses before.  But in this case, the words were actual objects.  The maguffin of the entire movie (to bend a trope a little) literally was two filing boxes full of thousands of papers of documents.  That information would not be shared or known if those physical objects had remained where they belonged.

We do not live in that reality anymore.  Google was founded on September 4, 1998. Twenty years later, the idea that information can be contained to a physical transmission feels like historic science fiction.

This transition, in which information not simply moves faster than the human body but also is replicated a million times without significant energy or time per copy, will be as radical as that of the printing press.  I am sure that historian have a name of this sublimation of information, but I prefer sublimation.

For non-nerds out there, sublimation is the term used when a solid evaporates directly into vapor/gas without becoming a liquid in between. The molecules detach from a rigid structure, and become tiny enough to float, fill a space, and seep through the tiniest of openings.

Doesn’t that sound like information in our modern day? We can share without the limitations of the structures we first used to learn the information. A thousand different internet based channels permit that information to fill every empty space, and information, once confined to methods which required significant time and energy per copy is no longer confined to a single structure or container.

Once upon a time, newspapers required time to print. Each copy required paper, ink, energy, and distribution.  Now, the editor says, “ready,” and that article can be in the hands of thousands (millions) of people within seconds, or minutes if your cell reception isn’t great.

What was it really like to live in a world where answers were not at your finger tips? How does one’s understanding of multicultural living shift when it was truly possible to live without experiencing other people or cultures, not even in television?

No conclusions here, just a question to contemplate.  What implications and results do you see from this true revolution of information changes?

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