Author Topic: Wow!  (Read 7487 times)

Shaggy 2 Grote

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2007, 11:04:30 AM »
Josh, I think that happens all the time now - not just vanity presses, but legit small presses as well.  All three of the major publishers of acting editions of plays keep a small reserve of their catalogs on hand and just print the rest on demand as needed.  I'm too lazy/busy to look thus up in my inbox, but I believe what you just brought up has been discussed a lot at the Small Press Expo and elsewhere.  I think Soft Skull and a few other small presses are looking for ways to keep out-of-print books on hand.

But Sarah, I agree with you re. the publishing industry (my wife used to be an editorial assistant at Penguin/Putnam - I think she worked briefly on an early version of Rock, Rot, & Rule - so I hear about this a lot).  Obviously this whole desktop publishing thing has had the benefit of making the printing press press available to a large mass, but something has been lost.  Then again, I don't think the book per se is going anywhere.  It's kind of a perfect technology.
Oh, good heavens. I didn’t realize. I send my condolences out to the rest of the O’Connor family.

Emily

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2007, 11:18:16 AM »
back of the book indexes have also suffered.

:-(

moonshake

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2007, 11:25:53 AM »
Then again, I don't think the book per se is going anywhere.

Oh, but the dictionary is!

http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/161
"You want me to recognize you and I won't. I won't acknowledge you! I deny you. So you keep begging and begging. The door is slammed on you. I want nothing to do with you. You will die unrecognized by me."
-Tom Scharpling

Sarah

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2007, 11:33:22 AM »
back of the book indexes have also suffered.

:-(

Yep.  They're being left to the authors, too.

senorcorazon

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2007, 11:35:13 AM »
What a great post -- the argument about the publishing world is one that happens often at my house (my fiancee is an editor at a major publisher) and what seems to be killing the industry is the push to cycle things through faster and faster, so that everyone involved is running under the gun, paid less, and mistakes run throughout the process. I think that the lowering of reading levels and grammar will be interesting to see develop, since fewer people may be reading and might care less about typos and sentence construction than we fuddy-duddys do. 

The whole print-on-demand idea is interesting, and the guys who run the Internet Archive have been building these $1 a book mobiles that open up the public domain (http://www.archive.org/texts/bookmobile.php#thebookmobile) in both an intriguing and slightly creepy way. But yes, the idea of the physical artifact of a book will not go away until the next generations outgrow it or a suitable facsimile emerges. And the idea of out-of-print books being held under copyright will finally go away when someone realizes they can make money off of it, both fortunately and unfortunately. 

Sarah

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2007, 12:32:29 PM »
Re the talk here, I very much liked "leading lexicographer Erin McKean's" point about the loss of serendipity that results from electronic dictionaries (I've long had the same complaint about online card catalogs), but my regard for her plummeted when she said "ek cetera."

Shaggy 2 Grote

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2007, 05:18:06 PM »
Sarah, serendipity and happy accidents are totally being lost by the indexing of everything - I try to make my students physically search through the stacks for books, telling them that that's how they'll find their best research (a few of them actually do it).  I was a terrible undergraduate student, but I actually learned a great deal (most of it wholly irrelevant) from wasting time in the library, checking out weird books and avoiding homework.  I was a much better student by the time I hit grad school, but I still couldn't resist exploring the Bobst Library at NYU for oddities and apocrypha.

Now watch this segue:

John Junk, this relates back to Debord's psychogeography (mirrored in Baudelaire's flaneur and Thoreau's book Walking, probably all over literature in fact) and is why I can't totally embrace this gadget despite the clear cool factor - the hyper-efficiency of indexing all of this information robs us of idleness, aimlessness, wandering.  Again, another part of me loves this stuff and uses Google, Wikipedia, and Flickr all of the time - but I still worry about what I'm losing.

I still walk everywhere, all the time, but now that I have an iPod my soundtrack is music or talk radio, and I'm not going to give that up any time soon.  But I do often think about the replacement of my inner monologue with a soundtrack.
Oh, good heavens. I didn’t realize. I send my condolences out to the rest of the O’Connor family.

senorcorazon

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2007, 06:10:53 PM »
the hyper-efficiency of indexing all of this information robs us of idleness, aimlessness, wandering

I'm with you that the gadgetry makes it hard to unplug -- I try to make myself spend time at home without having the computer or stereo going nonstop, but it's hard. However, I would also argue that the "idleness, aimlessness, and wandering" are in some ways more prevalent now because of indexing. Being able to search something and get on to the third or fourth page and wander off into random websites is part of the beauty of the "information age", if you can call it beautiful. The fact that the nerds at boingboing pull up 15 good threads for me to start from doesn't dissuade me. I think the important thing is to try and keep the habit that you're trying to teach with having people troll through the library -- adding a sense of spontaneity to experience and discovering something different. Indexing doesn't HAVE to be about eliminating possibilities but you're right that it could for people who are lazy.

KickTheBobo

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2007, 07:08:37 PM »
Depressingly, I suspect that in the not-too-distant future physical books will become an expensive rarity.

Not gonna happen.

The e-book cannot (at this stage) replicate the tactile experience of the average Penguin paperback. There is a certain intimacy to thumbing through a worn copy of Catcher in the Rye that you picked up at a sidewalk sale, and have had tucked in your backpack for 3 months. Even the sound of the page flipping is an essential part of the experience of reading. I love reading a second hand book and wondering who the hell owned it before: whether they finished it, did they like it, did they give up after the introduction and go surf the internet instead?

Regarding all that previous chatter about authenticity/ experience/ simulacra, I can only contribute this (as the subject(s) are quite a bit over my head):



No, really, wake me up when they've worked the bugs out of the whole "Immersive Virtual Reality" dealio. We've been hearing about it from this clown for the past 15 years:



I say:

GIMME MY HOLODECK!

John Junk

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2007, 07:18:03 PM »

John Junk, this relates back to Debord's psychogeography (mirrored in Baudelaire's flaneur and Thoreau's book Walking, probably all over literature in fact) and is why I can't totally embrace this gadget despite the clear cool factor - the hyper-efficiency of indexing all of this information robs us of idleness, aimlessness, wandering.

THAT'S what I'm TALKING ABOUT!! 

Jasongrote: Super-post-er.

Jason

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2007, 08:40:39 PM »
Jeez! You eggheads are killing da party.

Shaggy 2 Grote

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2007, 10:43:47 PM »
Being able to search something and get on to the third or fourth page and wander off into random websites is part of the beauty of the "information age", if you can call it beautiful.

You're right about that, Senor - and therein lies my ambivalence.  But I have to admit that my love of wandering on the web has gradually faded.  Even gadgets like StumbleUpon have lost their charm, and instead I am to a daily round of a finite number of sites (this being one of them, lately).  But I'm actually building an alternate reality game for that play o' mine that works on exactly those principles, so who am I to talk.

Jasongrote: Super-post-er.

Thanks, John Junk!

No, really, wake me up when they've worked the bugs out of the whole "Immersive Virtual Reality" dealio. We've been hearing about it from this clown for the past 15 years:


I didn't know the guy from the Insane Clown Posse invented virtual reality!

Jeez! You eggheads are killing da party.

This is the party.  And if it was the party 10 years ago we would all be stoned in a kitchen in Belleville or somewhere and I'd be making considerably less sense.  But alas, now I'm old.  OLD!  Gimme my holodeck indeed.
Oh, good heavens. I didn’t realize. I send my condolences out to the rest of the O’Connor family.

jane

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #27 on: October 01, 2007, 11:40:41 PM »
TL wrote:
Also, at the risk of sounding completely elitist, this is a great tool for those who can use it, and if the virtual world supplants the real world for the idiots who can't tell or handle the difference, then that's their problem.  I've been to Notre Dame, and guess what?  It's still there.  But cities all over ARE disappearing and being supplanted by the Disney/Whole Foods version, and it's been going on for 20 years, and it's got nothing to do with this technology...



Of course Notre Dame is really there.  I don't think anyone is arguing that.  Baudrillard is a subtle, evasive and free-wheeling kind of writer.  Afterall he came up with expressions such as "hyperreality", "cyberblitz", "implosion", etc.   He felt that the excessive search for meaning or a total understanding of the world leads to a kind of delusion.  He talked about images preceding the real and representation  saturating reality to such an extent that experience can only take place at a remove.  He felt that the obsession with images has altered perceptions of the world and interactions within it.

This is from his book Simulations
"It is now impossible to isolate the processes of the real or to prove the real...all hold-ups, hijacks and the like are now as it were simulations...inscribed in advance in the decoding and orchestration rituals of the media." pg. 41-2

When I first saw the Mona Lisa at the Louvre I had this commercial jingle running through my head:  "when you eat your smarties do you eat the red ones last? do you suck them very slowly, or crunch them very fast?".  This jingle is from a commercial featuring Mona eating these candy coated chocolate  confections.  Really weird.

I think Baudrillard's writing became increasing silly in the 80's.  He wrote about our bodies becoming weaker because of our obsession with hygiene and health, Disneyland only existing to give the world the impression that America is real, the viral nature of contemporary insecurity and panic with AIDs, terrorism, computer viruses as potentially destabilizing to our systems, growing knowledge of DNA through medical photography as a symptom of the fact that we have lost touch with our bodies, etc. 

I think many people abandoned Baudrillard when he infamously asserted that the Gulf War had been a simulation because of the resemblance on TV screens between real war footage and video games.  He didn't mean that people hadn't really been killed, he was exploring the loss of the real and the abandonment of truth and evaluation.

buffcoat

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #28 on: October 02, 2007, 01:54:08 PM »
Damn European!

SMARTIES are (fake) fruit-flavored candies.  M&Ms are chocolate.

I really don't appreciate your sarcastic, anti-comedy tone, Bro!

jane

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Re: Wow!
« Reply #29 on: October 02, 2007, 09:59:39 PM »

SMARTIES are (fake) fruit-flavored candies.  M&Ms are chocolate.


I wonder what Debord thinks about this.