The Machine Looms
E. M. Forster's Prophetic View into Machine Culture
by Arthur W. Hunt III
Samuel Morse probably thought he was only being witty when he tapped out the first telegraph message in 1844: "What . . . hath . . . God . . . wrought?" He must have known that he was obliterating time and space forever for the human race; otherwise, he would not have claimed, as he did, that what he was doing amounted to creating "an enormous brain of nerves" that would unite the country into one big neighborhood.
A poem was even written to celebrate his efforts. "The Victory" declared, "We are one!" Then the Civil War broke out.
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Arthur W. Hunt III is Professor of Mass Media and Strategic Communication at the University of Tennessee in Martin, where he teaches Public Speaking and the Rhetorical Tradition for the university's honors program.
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