Friday, December 16, 2011

Pandemic consumption

I have a weakness for English majors.  A case in point is Mark Bauerlein, professor of English at Emory University, and editor of The Digital Divide: Arguments for and Against Facebook, Google, Texting, and the Age of Social Networking.  In the eight-page introduction alone, I found several gems:

  • In wondering about 6,901 comments posted in response to a 2,500-word newspaper piece, Bauerlein questions "what readers think when they encounter 4,838 comments to a news story and believe that post #4,384 really matters.  Is this democratic process or fruitless vanity?"
  • "How many decades passed between the invention of the telephone and its daily use by 90 percent of the population?  Today, the path from private creation to pandemic consumption is measured in months."
  • The phrase "reclusiveness in public spaces" aptly describes how we "look the same" to others (at the coffee shop, for example) whether we are reading a book online, checking Facebook, or contributing to a malicious gossip site.  "Nobody can tell, and that precise shelter removes one of the long-standing curbs on vicious conduct, namely, exposure."
  • And, in the final paragraph:  "If we let the human realities that accompanied those older tools fall into oblivion...then we lose a part of our humanity, a historical sense of our recent selves."

More reading material...woo hoo!

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