Friday, July 17, 2009

Digital Criticism

In the 70's and 80's, the most brilliant scientists in the world taped over the original recordings of the 1969 Lunar landing. As a result, we have only fuzzy recordings of the original broadcast. Hollywood technicians are producing the equivalent to eclectic texts by reconstructing images from four different recordings. These videos are being released in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the landing. This makes an excellent analogy for what textual critics hope to accomplish, although the NASA situation is much more straightforward. An important parallel between the reconstruction of an image and a text lies in the fact that both are made of many different parts (pixels, colors / words, syntax) which form a larger whole. For the most part, the reconstruction does not change the picture, but only makes it clearer.

Associated Press article

View the restored images


  1. Thanks, 1 big step for Holywood!

  2. Thanks Christian,

    I think this could be a useful way to explain textual criticism to people.

  3. Hmmm, this does sound suspiciously like the moon landing was a huge hoax after all, but Hollywood is now attempting to create it all ex nihilo :-)

  4. Marty ... the so-called Western video tapes of the Lunar Landing do appear to substantiate your claims, but this are clearly later corrupt witnesses to the Lunar Landing tradition and should not be heeded.

  5. Still unresolved: Did he say, "That's one small step for Man" or "That's one small step for a (vid) man?"

    Editors of the Gender Sensitive Edition want to know.

    There is a lacuna in the extant recording. And even the original author can't remember what he actually said, only what he meant to say in the excitement of the moment.

  6. Also, there's some controversy over his next two words. Were they, or were they not, "It's solid?" The words appear to be omitted in official transcripts, or overwritten with ecstatic commentary.

    Charges of orthodox corruption abound.