Meet The Press

Posted on March 22, 2012. Filed under: General Interest, History, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Not the pompous, condescending one;  rather, the simple mechanical device that put thoughts down on paper or another medium so that multiple copies of an idea could be stored, distributed, then re-read later as originally conceived.  And, introduced the plititicians’ catch-phrases “I was misquoted” and “That was taken out of context.”

It was a grand improvement over the quill and ink pot by increasing copy output enormously while, at the same time, cutting down on between-scroll coffee breaks.  These were required to east the pain of scriber’s cramps, a special problem in the full-page, hand-drawn illustration department.  There were probably other occupational hazards associated with scribing, such as annoying calluses and author-itis.  Production moved at a snail’s pace in those writing rooms.

Enter Johannes Gutenberg, a German of the Holy Roman Empire.  He grew up in a time (mid 1400’s) when the brew screw (a.k.a., the wine-press) was a top-of-the-line techno device and the buzz on the grape-vine was that the printing press was a spin-off from that basic schematic.  Gutenberg grooved to the tune, and — half way through a Saturday night keg and totally engrossed in his Victoria’s Secret book (a cook book of little known culinary tips) — he envisioned letters swimming around in his snoop and thought, “Wow!  If I just move this “p” and that “n” around, I could be using a “spoon” to eat this stuff.”  That thought was punctuated by the sound of his head thudding against the hay-strewn floor as he slipped into an alcoholic stupor.

Sunlight can be cruel, especially when you peep through red-rimmed eyelids to expose blood-shot eyeballs, all to the music of Thor’s hammer richocheting around the inside of your skull.  But, our hero was a metal worker and innovator, enamored (if only a little) with the printing business.  To his credit, he held tight to the snoop-spoon revealed in his wine quest.  His sobered-up version made for the quick and accurate mass-production of moving metal type.  So, to summarize:  Gutenberg got hammered, humankind’s social path got forked, and, not so coincidentally, so did humankind.

Gutenberg’s hammer (pun intended) thundered through the printing industry of the times, and echoes even today as we “lol, omg, u2, bff, xoxo and :)” through that red light back there.  Information, regardless of its source, veracity, or pertinence, is almost instantly available to anyone — and there is the rub.  (Hamlet probably hasn’t slept well since I started hacking at this web log.)

Oh, crap!  A note from Wikipedia We don’t know where you are finding this information, but if you are going to put our name down as source, at least use some of our information.  Fair enough;  the time period and his name are correct and wine press is spelled correctly.  Kudos to Wikipedia.

Next:  How a little “p” became a big “P”

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