Craig Baldwin and Robert Dobbs

Craig Badwin : Elaborate on the idea of a media fast.

Robert Dobbs: The only way is to drop out and specialize in one medium. Ignore Dan Rather and all that he’s propagating. Ignore the news. The news is the only thing that exists. So, if you ignore the news you’re ignoring everything. (Because, everything else is just spinning the news and making economics out of it.) One form of media fast in the electric age would be to retrieve the eye. The eye has no dominance in the electric age, which is more kinetic and tactile. Joyce says on page 52 [of Finnegan’s Wake], “Television kills telephony in brothers’ broil. Our eyes demand their turn. Let them be seen!” So how can the eyes be recovered as a floating organ in a situation where people really don’t have any human scale, or they feel that they don’t have any human scale? […] How to retrieve the eye? Joyce created a book which you can’t read. But in learning how to read it, by using depth perception, you re-activate your eye. So, the antidote to to the twentieth century is Finnegans Wake, because it brings back the obsolete eye (and it is an eye that includes all the senses), so you can read it out loud or you can see movement on the page, and ultimately you are making a book that is useful to the eye because it includes all the multi-dimensional experiences that you have in the 20th century mixed corporate-media environment. The only media fast you can have today is to do what Gerry Fialka does in L.A., is have a Finnegans Wake group Do Finnegans Wake. Especially at a group or community level, because the whole thing is to retrieve community on a certain level of first biological nature. It is the only book that can be read in a group format where no one can determine what the hell the meaning is. But the exploration/explanation is the joy of speech, so you are retrieving language. Joyce was, as Hugh Kenner said, a modernist in the sense that he celebrated speech. Postmodernists see speech as a virus. But there is an eternal value in speech, in the Modernist sense, as the greatest archetype, the greatest medium. McLuhan always said that the greatest art form is conversation. Joyce took speech and made it the content of Finnegans Wake. He preserved the visual tradition of the book and the eye while enhancing speech interaction. Better than “E=Mc2!” A beautiful antidote, a scientific answer, a health progenitor for humans on a general level. A great answer to the disease of the twentieth century.


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