Writing in The Wall

I found this boo to be overall uninteresting however I did find a few interesting points made throughout the first four chapters.


1. “Compared with other animals, they have strikingly large brains relative to their bodies. Moreover, most of the extra brain volume is devoted to one part of the brain in particular: the neocortex, which is involved in higher functions such as spatial reasoning, sensory perception, and conscious thought.” (Standage, 8)

 This especially caught my eye because I find it interesting how differently the human brain works as opposed to animals. We are effected by our outsides differently than animals. And the media holds the most impact on the human mind. However animals are not effected in the same way. Not even those most closely related to the human. For instance, societal appearances do not effect chimpanzees the way it does humans. They aspire to live while humans aspire to live and be beautiful. This sparked questions for me such as, why are humans influenced so much by their surroundings? Why is fame and fortune so important to people?


2. “Dictating and exchanging letters, sharing written news, and keeping up with the latest books required the ownership of specialist slaves and was, accordingly, limited to the Roman elite of Aristocats, generals, lawyers, state officials, and businessmen. But ordinary people came into daily contact with another form of media in which almost anyone could participate: graffiti.” (Standage, 38)

I have learned a lot about ancient Egypt in school so even though this information was not particularly new to me, I still found it fascinating. I imagine that the news some news must have been difficult to decipher and to actually make these graffiti markings could have been time consuming. To think this was the main source for getting news is perplexing seeing how far the news industry has come. I also love that journalism has not evolved in the sort that anyone can be one. Even in Ancient Egypt people did  need to be educated to share news or print their stories. Anyone can be journalist.   graffito_merenptah

3. “It was not just words that traveled along the social networks of the Reformation era, but music and images, too. The news ballad, like the pamphlet, was a relatively new media format. It set a poetic and often exaggerated description of contemporary events to a familiar tune so that it could be easily learned, sung, and taught to others.” (Standage, 57-58)

Lastly, I am a music fanatic and had never heard any information such as the quote I left about until I read this book. I feel if music was used to disperse news more so now in this day and age, more people would be aware of their local news and politics. Many people my age are not interested in reading up on current events and using a method such as this just may make my peers more aware.

This book made me see just how much technology is taking over not just the news industry, but all industries and how far writing/news has come from the its beginning. I like that Standage gives a story like feel to his text and draws images of how social media existed in the past and the ways in which it differs now.

Tom Standage


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