Saturday, March 24, 2007

"A Model Media Ecologist" Video

(Update below)

In one of my first posts I published the lyrics from "A Model Media Ecologist," a video I produced in 1976 while a Ph.D. candidate in the Media Ecology program at New York University.

Under the tutelage of professors Neil Postman, Terry Moran and Christine Nystrom, it was the practice in the 1970's at New York University's Program in Media Ecology Conferences for each doctoral class to pick one member to deliver a "State of the Class" address.

At the fall 1976 conference my "Class of 1977" decided to do something different. I had access to a Sony A/V 3650 1/2-inch, reel to reel, black and white recorder and a camera, and so instead of one class member giving a 30 minute address, each of us in the Class of '77 prepared up to five minutes on video tape of our own personal metaphor for "What is Media Ecology?" A Model Media Ecologist was my contribution. (I still have the complete video of the Class of '77 if anyone is interested.) I sang it to the tune of Gilbert & Sullivan's "A Modern Major General."

You'll notice there is no mention of personal computers (the Macintosh was just a gleam in Steve Job's eye), nor CD's, DVD's, nor even video discs. That's an IBM Selectric in front of me. On the shelves behind me is the complete LP collection of NYU's Loeb Student Center. (Younger bloggers can ask their parents to describe what an LP was.) These were primitive times and we were all pioneers!

As Lance Strate notes on his Blog Time Passing

...it truly would have been a shame if he [Neil Postman] had changed the curriculum earlier, and Bob Blechman had not produced the brilliant music video (from a time before there were such things as music videos)

So it might be proper to say that I was MTV before there was MTV. I was YouTube before there was YouTube. I'm also delighted at the global attention my YouTube entry has attracted. Little could I imagine way back in 1976 that posting my video on an Internet site would engender an audience of 54 (viewings as of last count)!

In your face LonelyGirl!

I'm proud to say the Casey M.K. Lum has included the lyrics of A Model Media Ecologist at the beginning of his history of Media Ecology, "Perspectives on Culture, Technology and Communication The Media Ecology Tradition" published by Hampton Press. No, I don't get any royalties, although I think I should.

Here, finally, is the original video!

A Model Media Ecologist

Update: As of Sunday, April 1 there have been 171 viewings of this video on YouTube. It is remarkable that simply posting an ancient piece of video on a web site could garner such international attention. It is truly a demonstration of the power of the Internet that anyone can tap into this new international mass medium and achieve such widespread influence!

2 comments:

Dr. Fallon said...

Hi Bob. Beta Max was first marketed in 1980 and was a cassette, like VHS. You probably had a SONY A/V 3650, which was a 1/2" reel to reel and was black and white. I believe the A/V 5000 was the 1/2" color version.

Peace,
Peter

Robert K. Blechman said...

Thanks Peter. I've made the appropriate corrections to my text.


Bob