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The Art of the Interactive Storyteller

Part 3...

In cultures with written texts, they claim secondary orality exists. As they point out, "in non-literate society every social situation can not but bring the individual into contact with the group's patterns of thought, feeling and action- the choice is between the cultural tradition and solitude. In a literate society ... the mere fact that reading and writing are solitary activities means that, in so far as the dominant cultural tradition is a literate one, it is very easy to avoid."

Essentially, you choose what you wish to know? Does this sound familiar?

There is a well-known Canadian author whom I have had the pleasure to know for the past 30 years. He is Chinese and about 3 years ago his book, "The Jade Peony", hit the North American best seller lists. Wayson Choy, who also teaches at Humber College, documented the struggle his culture went through as it attempted to adapt to North American Culture.

I'll bet very few of you have heard of Wayson, let alone read his book. Coming from a culture of secondary orality this is quite understandable. Apart from the fact there is no German-language edition, you haven't been exposed to his story simply because you are free to make that choice.

Here's Wayson in an exerpt from a video "Unfolding the Butterfly" , filmed by Michael Glassbourg and Arthur Campus, both of whom are my colleagues at Humber College's School of Media Studies:

What you have just been exposed to are two story tellers : one from a culture of primary orality and the other from a culture of secondary orality. As story tellers they are remarkably similar in that they have the ability to engage the audience and communicate their message.
The important storyteller was from the Innu because his culture and "net culture" intersect. Remember Goody and Watt and their description of primary orality? "In non-literate society every social situation can not but bring the individual into contact with the group's patterns of thought, feeling and action"

Now apply that to "net culture". Every hit on a web page cannot but bring the individual into contact with the group's patterns of thought, feeling and action. When you really get down to thinking about that you can't help but recognize that as being a fundamental branding strategy. The story, therefore, is the message.

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photo Tom Green
Tom Green

Who is tom green?

Teacher, author, raconteur. Here's a run down of what I have been up to over the past few years. My Bio.

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FITC 2004