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December 20, 2008

Reading & Writhing

I've been catching up on articles published over the summer about Nicholas Carr's Atlantic essay and Amazon.com's Kindle. Just finished Christine Rosen's New Atlantis piece, "People of the Screen," which is another dire jeremiad wailing against the death of the book. Here's a sample:

The book is modernity’s quintessential technology—“a means of transportation through the space of experience, at the speed of a turning page,? as the poet Joseph Brodsky put it. But now that the rustle of the book’s turning page competes with the flicker of the screen’s twitching pixel, we must consider the possibility that the book may not be around much longer. If it isn’t—if we choose to replace the book—what will become of reading and the print culture it fostered? And what does it tell us about ourselves that we may soon retire this most remarkable, five-hundred-year-old technology?

First of all, why do these people who staunchly hold up the guttering torch of print literacy write so poorly? Second, I dispute this article right from sentence one: "modernity's quintessential technology" is by no means the book; by definition it has to be a technology that revealed the cultural trauma of the modern age and tried to somehow make sense of it, a technology one uses for taking the bits and pieces of a now-ruptured social and trying to make some semblance of a whole from them -- it's the collage.

Music I Liked in 2008, take 1

"49:00" -- Westerberg

What my friends and I liked most about NEVER MIND THE BOLLOCKS . . . when it came out was the way the Pistols so purposely destroyed rock 'n' roll, made you have to think at least twice when you ever listened to rock again because their record had so clearly finished it off. It's nice every once in a while for someone to come along who realizes that but yet nevertheless is able to build something really interesting out of the sharp-edged, still-smoldering, but still-useful pieces of that destruction. Plus, lyrics that make me laugh when I sing them ("By the time you get your license/I'll be up for parole twice/And twice denied," the jailed daddy's lament to his young son on "Visitor's Day").

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Voting a straight Lizard People ticket

I confess I went for Franken, but I thought about Lizard People. I'm naturally drawn to candidates who play the 'eldritch' card (as was at least one other voter in the MN 2008 Senate race, the person who wrote in "-stine" after Al's last name).

Plus, I was listening to 'L. A. Woman' a lot last summer, so I was pretty receptive to anything Lizard.

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