discussion questions for Fang ch 4


1)      pp. 101-102 Describe the positive feedback between electricity and working class culture at the turn of the century. Why do we use the term “positive feedback” if there are some negative social consequences (the sweatshop etc.)?

2)      pp. 103 compare the current suspicion over television with the 1910 suspicion over newspapers. pp. 103-104 describe the relation between transportation and the tabloid.

3)      pp. 103-106 compare and contrast the penny press newspaper, the nickel magazine, and the dime novel.

4)      pp. 107 Critique Fang’s media determinism in his claim that music recording technology is inherently frangmenting to communities and families. (see http://www.rpi.edu/~eglash/eglash.dir/hit.dir/w1t5.htm if you forgot what media determinism is).

5)      pp. 107-108 What role did physical disability play in the audio inventions of Cros, Bell (previous chapter), and Edison?

6)      pp. 108-111 Briefly summarize the diversity of phonograph machines spawned by Edison’s wax cylinder.

7)      pp. 112-114 What made tracking Hitler’s position via radio speech broadcast difficult for the Allied listeners? Briefly summarize the evolution of audio tape players after WWII.

8)      pp. 114-115 What role did Frank Conrad play in the development of broadcast radio?

9)      pp. 116-118 Compare and contrast govt control of airwaves to capital ($$) control of airwaves.

10)  pp. 119-122 What technical improvements have led to the explosion of popular photography? What might lie in the future for popular photography?

11)  pp. 123-134 Compare what might be the highlights of a working class history of the movies with those of an upper class history of the movies.

12)  pp. 135-136 Use Fang’s hardware/software analogy to describe the relation between television and the motion picture industry.