The Sky Is Falling!

Jonathan Franzen thinks that the dawn of ebooks means the end of civilization as we know it. He spoke at the Hay Festival in Cartagena, Colombia about his fears concerning the current revolution in publishing:

“I think, for serious readers, a sense of permanence has always been part of the experience. Everything else in your life is fluid, but here is this text that doesn’t change.

“Will there still be readers 50 years from now who feel that way? Who have that hunger for something permanent and unalterable? I don’t have a crystal ball.

“But I do fear that it’s going to be very hard to make the world work if there’s no permanence like that. That kind of radical contingency is not compatible with a system of justice or responsible self-government.”

We’ve been hearing this kind of talk for some time…

“Now that anyone is free to print whatever they wish, they often disregard that which is best and instead write, merely for the sake of entertainment, what would best be forgotten, or, better still be erased from all books.”

The above statement flowed from the quill pen of Niccolò Perotti, a learned Italian classicist, while writing to his friend Francesco Guarnerio in 1471, less than twenty years after the invention of the printing press.

Viva la revolucion!

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One Response to The Sky Is Falling!

  1. Yes, it will be the end of civilization as we know it. With the devolution of the printed page into electrons, we enter a realm of impermanence and literacy dependent upon batteries and plugs; when the juice stops flowing, as oil reserves and entropy dictate it must, your scree will fade to darkness, and the only light in the world will be the ereader-Luddite, reading a book by candlelight.

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