I’m not sure all of you remember it, but there was an ad campaign from my childhood that questioned or not whether or not something was real, or Memorex. The whole idea was that cassette recordings were so accurately rendered that on Memorex tapes, you couldn’t tell the different between the actual or recorded voice. Of course, no recording sounds exactly the same, but maybe Memorex was sophisticated enough to fool very early voice-recognition software. Maybe.
However, in the modern world of email forwarding, YouTube, and Flickr, among other technologies, I’m starting to wonder if there’s an real content left out there. Paramount is releasing movie clips as a means of expression on online sites, and MTV is soon going to release clips of its shows in a similar fashion. Big news industries around the world such as CNN and the BBC are advocating for user comments and blogging in a bid to increase readership. We’re all passing along the blog posts or articles we think others might enjoy, but are we giving our own response to it, or just starting with ‘thought you’d like this’?
For a short period of time I did some babysitting for an absolutely adorable boy with Downs Syndrome. He loved the Wiggles and Bear in a Big Blue House, and used quotes from these shows whenever possibly relevant in a conversation (and sometimes when not relevant). Because he loved these shows, he would watch them over and over again, as do many children with favorite shows, and certain phrases became ingrained in such a way that they became stock phrases for certain expression. While in this case I think the quotes helped with self-expression, I don’t think movie or television quotes are really widening that range for most of us. I would hate to see a time when we can only express ourselves with phrases preserved in media. Language should grow, not collapse in upon itself and fall out of use.