A couple of interesting links
I found these on Arts & Letters Daily. A comment about that site after the links.
First, an article from the New Yorker by Anthony Grafton: Future Reading: Digitization and Its Discontents. This is a thoughtful meditation on Google’s Library Project and the general effect of digitization on reading, from a well-informed historical perspective. I’m always looking for things like this. Among Grafton’s conclusions is that digitized books won’t replace their print editions anytime soon, but he has more interesting things to say about how reading is changing. Alfred Kazin is a central figure in this piece.
Second, from Orion Magazine, by Rebecca Solnit: Finding Time: The fast, the bad, the ugly, the alternatives. The first paragraph is a good description:
THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF MY APOCALYPSE are called Efficiency, Convenience, Profitability, and Security, and in their names, crimes against poetry, pleasure, sociability, and the very largeness of the world are daily, hourly, constantly carried out. These marauding horsemen are deployed by technophiles, advertisers, and profiteers to assault the nameless pleasures and meanings that knit together our lives and expand our horizons.
So, as I mentioned, I found these links in Arts & Letters Daily. I often find good things there, but I just have to say out loud that I find the irreverent glibness of the descriptions there to be a real pain. Arts & Letters Daily makes academics look shallow and immature. Delight in oversimplification and unapologetic but good-humored unfairness by clicking this delicious sounding link! Maybe Arts & Letters Daily provides some relief from responsible thinking for academics, who labor under pressures that are not always legitimate in real world terms, but I find it really annoying just the same. And I wish they would get off the French already.