Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deal W Hudson

1/29/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The "new media" made possible by the Internet and the availability of the PC and the PDA (any kind of personal data assistant - phone or tablet) has captured and joined together the reading world, including books, newspaper, and magazines, and the visual world of film (TV, DVD, Blu-ray) and made them available to people worldwide, anywhere they happen to be, at home or elsewhere.

In a world where our minds and hearts are, on a daily basis, being shaped and informed by images, whether stills or moving, becoming visually literate is a goal we should all pursue and should certainly provide for our children. This will mean that we learn not only to understand the "grammar" of image representation but also the skills to create those representations. In other words, we all need to learn how to make a film. More on this later!

Highlights

By Deal W Hudson

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/29/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: beauty, Liturgy, love, relationships, priesthood, culture, enthsuiasm, renewal, reform, Catholic Culture, rubrics, worship, Holy Mass, Divine Liturgy, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Deal W. Hudson, literacy



WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - The first commercial television network, the DuMont Television Network,  began to broadcast in 1946, but programming was limited to viewers between New York and Washington, DC. Over the next two years, NBC, ABC, and CBS began regional broadcasting.

It wasn't until 1951 that national broadcasting emerged with all four networks using  AT&T's microwave radio relay lines. Dumont, which first broadcast the Rev. Fulton Sheen and launched Jackie Gleeson, went out of business in 1956, leaving the American public adjusting their "rabbit ears" to view the programming of the "big three" networks. 

The movies, as a visual medium, were already integral to the daily life of American culture and consciousness; film having already passed through two "golden ages," one the silent era and another in sound. The presence of televisions in the home grew quickly, from 6,000 in 1946 to 12 million in 1951.  By 1955 television had entered one-half of all American homes. The three networks dominated TV screens; color was added in 1964; cable TV arrived in the 70s.

Viewers were given more power over their own viewing with the arrival of the VCR in the 60s, a format not widely adopted until the mid-70s. The DVD went on sale in 1997, but its rentals did not surpass the VCR until 2003. The first Blu-ray titles appeared in June, 2006 and grew steadily until Internet "streaming," which had begun with a performance by "Severe Tire Damage" on the Internet June 25, 1993.

By 2011, more Americans were streaming visual content than DVD and Blu-ray combined: 3.4 billion via online streaming, up from 1.4 billion in 2010, while disc based watching decreased from 2.6 billion in 2010 to 2.4 billion in 2011. One large factor: consumers paid 51 cents for movies consumed online, compared to $4.72 for disc based titles.

Through these media, viewing movies, TV shows, and the attendant  commercials became a significant presence in our lives. But then came a complete game changer: The backbone of the World Wide Web or the "Internet" was years in development, but its popular use didn't begin until the 80s, rising to prominence in the mid-90s. In 2005, 16% of the world was using the Internet; this increased to 39% by 2013. In the developed world, the range was from 51% in 2005 to 77% in 2013.

The "new media" made possible by the Internet and the availability of the PC and the PDA (any kind of personal data assistant - phone or tablet) has captured and joined together the reading world, including books, newspaper, and magazines, and the visual world of film (TV, DVD, Blu-ray) and made them available to people worldwide, anywhere they happen to be, at home or elsewhere. 

This massive switch of reading from print to the digital medium has made it possible to use visual means for many kinds of communication - such as in journalism, education, advocacy, and politics - that were once largely confined to print. The demands on our "visual literacy," as it is called, have multiplied exponentially. One 2013 study found that Americans spend 32 hours per week online, while the average global user spends 16 hours. That's 19% of all the hours in a week, including time devoted to sleeping. If you subtract, say, 7 sleeping hours, the percentage becomes 27% for all waking hours, over one quarter of our waking time!

My generation, the heart of the post WWII "baby boom," learned its visual literacy through experience, not by formal training. We were taught to read, interpret texts, and to use language effectively, both written and spoken (remember when public schools taught cursive writing.) These skills, combined with a knowledge of history, literature, math, and science, were considered to create a literate citizenry, a citizenry capable, among other things, of participating in a democratic society. 

Visual literacy can be understood by analogy to literacy in the language arts.  We learn not only how to read a text - its use of narrative voice, metaphor, simile, symbol, imagery, plot, character, action, spectacle - but we learn how to write, how to create a text. Reading and writing enrich each other, making that form of literacy more penetrating and sophisticated.  When it comes to visual literacy, there is very little formal education offered in the public schools and even less in the form of continuing education for adults.

Given the dominance of visual communication in this generation, it's ridiculous that our school curricula don't include requirements in learning the basics of "reading" images as well as the basics of creating those images. 

In a world where our minds and hearts are, on a daily basis, being shaped and informed by images, whether stills or moving, becoming visually literate is a goal we should all pursue and should certainly provide for our children. This will mean that we learn not only to understand the "grammar" of image representation but also the skills to create those representations. In other words, we all need to learn how to make a film. More on this later!

Summary

1. American culture since 1950 has been more and more dominated by video communication, culminating in the spread of Internet communication aided by the use of PDAs.

2. Educational curricula as they were structured in the 50s, based upon models of literacy based upon the printed word and classical works of art, have not changed very much, leaving a huge gap in our collective "visual literacy."

3. Visual literacy will require the skill to create as well as interpret, just as the old literacy required the ability both to read and to write, in both cases the one enriches the other.

© Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D

-----
Deal W. Hudson is president of the Morley Institute of Church and Culture, Senior Editor at Catholic Online, and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine.This column and subsequent contributions are an excerpt from a forthcoming book. Dr. Hudson's new radio show, Church and Culture, will begin broadcasting in February on the Ave Maria Radio Network.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for June 2015
Universal:
That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.
Evangelization: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More U.S.

On this Fourth of July, We Need a Declaration of Dependence Watch

Image of The real promise of the Declaration of the Declaration of Independence now cries out for those who believe in its promise to stand up for its true meaning and work to restore the unique experiment in ordered liberty which it offers for future generations.

By Deacon Keith Fournier

The Declaration of Independence was the birth certificate of the United States of America, a Nation often called the American Experiment because of the very fact that it was founded upon principles. The words are still memorized by schoolchildren and can bring a ... continue reading


Learning from the Wonderful Witness of 'Doubting' Thomas Watch

Image of Thomas the doubter became the Thomas the model believer, an example for each one of us. He is a great beacon of light for all of us as we cry out with him, MY LORD AND MY GOD!

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

What conclusion, dear brethren, do you come to? Surely it was not by chance that this chosen disciple, was missing in the first place? Or that on his return he heard, that hearing he doubted, that doubting he touched, and that touching he believed? It was by ... continue reading


Catholic Church in U.S. has weathered adversity before - and will emerge triumphant, historian says Watch

Image of As bishops warn of current threats to religious liberty in the United States, Catholics can take heart that such challenges have faced them before, and they have persevered, one Church historian says.

By Matt Hadro, CNA/EWTN News

As bishops warn of current threats to religious liberty in the United States, Catholics can take heart that such challenges have faced them before, and they have persevered, one Church historian says. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - "It's okay to realize that ... continue reading


After same-sex unions legalized, polygamous Montana trio demands same Watch

Image of The 46-year-old Nathan Collier owns a refrigeration business in Billings. He married 40-year-old Victoria in 2000. His second wife, Christine, was wed in a religious wedding ceremony in 2007 without a marriage license in order to avoid bigamy charges.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It was bound to happen. After the Supreme Court ruled same-sex unions legal in all 50 states, other proponents of non-traditional arrangements are clamoring for equality under the law. Nathan Collier, along with his wives Victoria and Christine have applied at ... continue reading


350-pound dolphin accidentally lands on cruise ship severely injuring woman Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

To kick off the summer break and celebrate Father's day, a family went aboard a cruise that ended with a traumatizing accident. As the cruise started to sail back to the harbor, a group of dolphins started to swim alongside the boat. However, as the passengers started ... continue reading


Episcopalians overwhelmingly vote to let same-sex weddings in churches Watch

Image of Episcopalians voted overwhelmingly this week to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Episcopalians voted overwhelmingly this week to allow religious weddings for same-sex couples. The Episcopal Church has long been on the forefront of equal rights for homosexuals, ever since electing it first openly gay bishop 10 years ago.  LOS ANGELES, ... continue reading


TERROR LEAK: ISIS learns of FBI command centers across U.S. for Fourth of July Watch

Image of One such likely ISIS candidate, 23-year-old Alaa Saadeh, was believed to be part of a group interested in detonating a pressure cooker bomb at a New York landmark.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It appears that an important bit of counter-terrorism may have landed into the wrong hands. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, or FBI is installing command centers around the nation to prepare for possible terror attacks for the coming Fourth of July holiday ... continue reading


Remaining U.S. troops in Afghanistan 'feel forgotten' Watch

Image of Several US Troops felt abandoned and forgotten by the US government

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A total of 10,000 American troops remain in Afghanistan. These troops believe they have been forgotten by the Obama administration, as the US Government shifts its attention to ISIS. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - The US Troops, 10,000 men and women left ... continue reading


Risk for massive earthquake in California increases as scientists find dangerous helium coming from fault zone Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Researchers recently discovered helium leaking from a giant fault in the Earth's crust near Los Angeles, as well as discovering an increase in chance for California to have an 8.0 magnitude earthquake. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - They did not expect the ... continue reading


United States prepares for Fourth of July amidst threat of ISIS attacks Watch

Image of The U.S. Government prepares for possible terrorist attacks this coming Independence Day celebration in the U.S.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Three days before the United States' Independence Day, the FBI has already began setting up command centers in all of the 56 field offices across the country prior to the fourth. The U.S. Government is preparing for possible terrorist attacks and terrorist threats that ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ezekiel 2:2-5
2 As he said these words the spirit came into me and ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 123:1-2, 2, 3-4
1 [Song of Ascents] I lift up my eyes to you who are ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 6:1-6
1 Leaving that district, he went to his home town, ... Read More

Reading 2, Second Corinthians 12:7-10
7 Wherefore, so that I should not get above myself, I ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 5th, 2015 Image

St. Anthony Mary Zaccaria
July 5: Cofounder of the Barnabites. Born in 1502 in Cremona, Italy, ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter