spacer image
spacer image

Welcome! You're looking at an archived Snarkmarket entry. We've got a fresh look—and more new ideas every day—on the front page.

September 9, 2009

<< The Atlantic Has a Good Month | More Hud Mo >>

The Virgin and the Inkjet

Read this post for the sound of the words alone! The Late Age of Print and the Storm of Progress! I mean, it’s positively Tolkien-esque. Living through the sickly mutant collapse of industrial media? Lame. Living through the Late Age of Print? Awesome.

Great stuff all around from Matthew Battles. And this part is so slick:

The public sphere’s terms-of-service, the product of five hundred years of cultural contest, are a better deal than anything Facebook, Amazon, or Google Books has to offer. To keep them current in the digital age, as Richard suggests, we must turn around and face front.

“The public sphere’s terms-of-service.” Cool.

The only thing missing now is a comment from Tim Carmody, but maybe if we set the snare just so… and step back…

(Actually, I guess this was Tim’s comment, really. But now I wanna hear him talk Walter Benjamin.)

Posted September 9, 2009 at 3:37 | Comments (2) | Permasnark
File under: Briefly Noted


You know I've been teaching all day! ;-)

I think I actually kinda liked it better when Battles said "It took a few hundred years, but the book's Terms of Service are second to none." I think in particular that had to do with the technology of books being really, really good at storing and preserving text. Which may not totally be a terms of service issue. I almost want to substitute "the culture of the book" for the "public sphere," which is a slightly more elusive idea, at least for me.

I'm very interested in Striphas's book, which I first learned about, I guess, a week ago - maybe. I was definitely more charitable to Joni Evans than Nash or Battles might be, in part because she seems to be delivering the same message, that the ruptures in rumbling have been happening a long time. (There's a confusion here between the two Evanses - Evans the protagonist didn't see Darwin in the room until the end, but I think Evans the narrator does, did.)

I like MB's observation that publishing still has sounds and smells - reminds me of Mark Hansen's constant reminders that, in some ways, as the materialities of media become less evident, that our bodies actually become more important as physical intermediaries than before. No getting around them, anyways.

But Benjamin! Yeah, you know - so many different ways to read that Angel of History idea. One, which I think WB would be sympathetic to, is not to see the trash as meaningless detritus, but as the repository of a series of failed utopias. This is why I'm so interested in different ways of paleoblogging ideas of the future. It's almost like, with each of these gadgets, you're watching a different generation-old dream die.

I'm grateful for all of your expansive thoughts on my recent posts! And your magnanimity towards Joni Evans makes me see the merits of a more patient reading. The Angel of History is indeed a fraught and rich trope—and the image of its trash as the remnants of failed utopias is most beautiful. She needs to put all that stuff in a bag & sling it over her shoulder!

Posted by: Matthew Battles on September 9, 2009 at 10:05 PM
spacer image
spacer image