Monday, June 29, 2009

Predictions, 1896 edition

'In the year 1887,' says Mr Edison, 'the idea occurred to me that it would be possible to devise an instrument which should do for the eye what the phonograph does for the ear, and that, by a combination of the two, all motion and sound could be recorded and reproduced simultaneously....

...A little more discussion about details followed, and then Edison said: 'I have no doubt whatever of the outcome. Before many years we will have grand opera in every little village at ten cents a head. And the very highest grand opera; you will see and hear Patti in your own parlour. She will be heard a hundred years after her death. The President's inauguration can be treated in the same way. Pope Leo and his cardinals may be seen and heard for a hundred years to come.'

'What a way to write history !' he continued enthusiastically. ' How much more effectively one could convey to future generations an idea of the President than words and writing could! In fact, written records would cease to have their historical importance. Yet,' he added, ' these things are not so wonderful as they seem.'

--From Thomas Alva Edison--

If most people couldn't hear or see most political speeches and had to read them instead, how different would politics be?

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

That last line of his is very prescient. In an age of body language/intonation/delivery coaches etc..., I think we gain almost nothing from the ability to see politicians speak and lose much in the way of objectivity.