Sign of the Times – “Medieval Helpdesk” Commentary

Gunther Kress argues in “The Futures of Literacy” that “the world narrated is a different world to the world depicted and displayed”. If you watch the video that is linked above, you would see this type of thinking in action. In a nutshell, a man asks for assistance in how to not only read it but also to manipulate it and is constantly confused by the instructions the help desk assistant gives. Given that this video is titled “Medieval helpdesk”, it was probably meant to parody the reactions of the people when the way to tell stories transformed from orally to written. The video is comical to the viewers because chances are they know how to use and manage a spine-bound book. But what if it – the video, that is –  is a glimpse into the future, especially with the growing preference to screen and images as opposed to books and words? What if, in the future, people will really not understand how to manage and manipulate a print book because they will be raised with writing, reading, and communicating with the screen? After all, Gunther Kress maintains that in the future, only the elite will be using “the older media” while the masses will switch to the digital and textless, It will only be the elite that will argue that images cannot do what words do while the masses ignore them and continue to rely on images to inform them of what is happening throughout the world.


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