Seen in the context of such archetypes, the American movies have created their own Tarot deck, and most of us are familiar with the cards, cards such as the War Hero (Audie Murphy, John Wayne), the Strong and Silent Peace Officer (Gary Cooper, Clint Eastwood), the Whore with the Heart of Gold, the Crazed Hoodlum ("Top of the world, ma!"), the Ineffectual but Amusing Dad, the Can-Do Mom, the Kid from the Gutter Who Is On His Way Up, and a dozen others. That all of these creations are stereotypes developed with varying degrees of cleverness goes without saying, but even in the most inept hands, that reverberation, that cultural echo, seems to be there. But we're not discussing the War Hero or the Strong, Silent Peace Officer here; we are discussing that ever-popular archetype, the Thing Without a Name. For surely if any novel spans the entire period of book-into-film-into-myth, Frankenstein is that book. It was the subject of one of the first "story" films ever made, a one-reeler starring Charles Ogle as the creature
One by one they were seated in an antique barber's chair with a padded headrest about three feet away from a 17-inch color television monitor. A Gulf amp;Western infrared Eye View Monitor was set up just off to the left, carefully calibrated to track the fovea movements of each subject. What they found was that "Hug" was a resounding success. Seventy-six percent of all fixations were on the letters. Better still, 83 percent of all preschoolers fixated on the letters in a left-to-right sequence вЂ” mimicking, in other words, the actual reading process. "Oscar's Blending," on the other hand, was a disaster. Only 35 percent of total fixations fell on the letters. And exactly zero percent of the preschoolers read the letters from left to right. What was the problem? First, the letter shouldn't have been on the bottom of the screen because, as almost all eye movement research demonstrates, when it comes to television people tend to fixate on the center of the screen. That issue, though, is really secondary to the simple fact that the kids weren't watching the letters because they were watching Oscar
Some of the upper class are vile and cynical, of course, but many spend at least part of their time fretting about what direction the country is going in, and what responsibilities they have. And so issues that are important to book-reading intellectuals, such as global environmental collapse, eventually percolate through the porous buffer of mass culture and show up as ancient Hindu ruins in Orlando. You may be asking: what the hell does all this have to do with operating systems? As I've explained, there is no way to explain the domination of the OS market by Apple/Microsoft without looking to cultural explanations, and so I can't get anywhere, in this essay, without first letting you know where I'm coming from vis-a-vis contemporary culture. Contemporary culture is a two-tiered system, like the Morlocks and the Eloi in H.G. Wells's The Time Machine, except that it's been turned upside down. In The Time Machine the Eloi were an effete upper class, supported by lots of subterranean Morlocks who kept the technological wheels turning
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