Prancer's latest post in the "So Many Books..." thread led me to The Second Pass, a nifty blog about reading, writing, and publishing today. One recent entry quotes the following two paragraphs from an essay by Michiko Kakutani about the way the Internet has encouraged everyone from Joe Schmo to the late Jane Jacobs to take dismaying shortcuts in their thinking and writing:
Looking back on the several thousand posts that comprise my "body of work" in the This or That (or The Other Thing...or That!) threads, I find in myself a hitherto unexploited capacity for shame, and, beyond that, the possibility of true maturation. I must abandon the annoying online persona I've cultivated--that of a magical Hello Kitty eminence idly condescending to weigh selected baubles of human experience--and begin instead my life as a self-aware adult. It's been fun, but all things, good or bad, must come to an end. I'd wish you well, but I anticipate looking back on these threads as the pilot does on the young islanders in Lord of the Flies.For his part Mr. Lanier says that because the Internet is a kind of “pseudoworld” without the qualities of a physical world, it encourages the Peter Pan fantasy of being an entitled child forever, without the responsibilities of adulthood. While this has the virtues of playfulness and optimism, he argues, it can also devolve into a Lord of the Flies-like nastiness, with lots of “bullying, voracious irritability and selfishness” — qualities enhanced, he says, by the anonymity, peer pressure and mob rule that thrive online.
Digital culture, he writes in You Are Not a Gadget, “is comprised of wave after wave of juvenilia,” with rooms of “M.I.T. Ph.D. engineers not seeking cancer cures or sources of safe drinking water for the underdeveloped world but schemes to send little digital pictures of teddy bears and dragons between adult members of social networks.”
Oh, and I really don't like Michelle Kwan's skating anymore.
SpoilerApril Fool(s), of course.