Sunday, June 18, 2017

"Writers thrive on privacy, not on Twitter"

A very interesting article by Andrew O'Hagan at The Guardian"Will social media kill the novel?"

The title of the article misrepresents its scope, and all throughout it there are some real interesting observations.  Here are a few: 

"One of the great fights of the 21st century will be the fight for privacy and self-ownership, which is also, to my mind, the struggle for literature as distinct from the dark babble of social media. Writers thrive on privacy, not on Twitter, and so do readers when the lights are low. Giving your sentences thoughtlessly away, and for nothing, seems a small death to contemplation, and does harm to the profession of writing, where you’re paid because you’re good at it."

"We were addicted to the ailments of the web long before we understood how the technology would change our lives. In a sense, it gave the tools of fiction-making to everybody equally, so long as they had access to a computer and a willingness to swim into the internet’s deep well of otherness. JG Ballard predicted that the writer would no longer have a role in society. “Given that external reality is a fiction, he does not need to invent the fiction because it is already there,” he wrote. Every day on the web you see his point being made; it is a marketplace of selfhood."

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Thoreau in his Bicentenniel

Somehow, I was never forced to read Walden for any class, in high school or college.  And I never saw that fact fact as a good thing.  Now comes a fine article by William Howarth with a lifetime of wisdom gleaned from teaching Walden, along with some sad comments on the contemporary scene. I've dug out my copy of Walden and am fixing this deficiency.