Review Cultures of Vision: Images, the Media, and the Imaginary
This reviewer hoped to find some discussion of a more integrated theory of image interpretation that would perhaps shed some insight on the theoretical and pedagogical issues encountered by instructors of webbed writing. Instead, the book seemed intent on finding ways to devalue language and linguistic metaphors in the process of interpreting images; indeed, the book seems as much about language as about image. Particularly problematic was the author's tendency to view language and texts through the lenses of Structuralism and Formalism, approaches that have receded in importance over the past half-century. Burnett also assumes a degree of linearity in print-based text that simply does not exist.

That the author doubts language to the extent that he professes makes his reliance on it, and it alone, surprising. But there are no photographic images to be found in Burnett's book. One wonders, given his claim that the performance of interpretation requires a time element which language cannot adequately convey, what benefits his work would reap if presented in an electronic, multimedia environment, where the portions of video and film that he discusses could be viewed and considered by the reader. However, given Burnett's apparently minimal experience with and knowledge of the Internet, indeed, with computers and electronic texts in general, such an enterprise is not likely.

These reasons alone should make the potential reader of Burnett's text proceed with caution. However, one other point needs to be raised, which is that the text is loosely organized, whether one judges by print or electronic standards, and is, in places, nearly incoherent at level of sentence, paragraph or section. Burnett's claim that "in that sense [that distinctions between media of all kinds have become dysfunctional], there can be no conclusion to this book, because as with electronic mail, there seems to be more and more reasons to continue writing" (334) stands as one memorable example of an sentence that borders on meaninglessness.

There are others cited throughout this review. One wonders if these structual problems are a result of a far too ambitious agenda and that Burnett's choice of commucative medium (print) may not be adequate for his purpose. Though Burnett's book seeks a theory of image interpretation that lessens the role of language, he has chosen the medium most dependent on language to convey his thoughts. Ironically, instead of providing instructors of webbed writing with answers, Burnett's text serves as another example of the problems that we face in determining how to integrate image and language into webbed, and even print, documents.

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