Sunday, October 17, 2010

To The Measures Fall

In last week's New Yorker, there is a fantastic short story by Richard Powers, "To The Measures Fall." It gets at what it means to read in a really profound way and how one's relationship to text can change numerous times. It looks at one person's relationship to an obscure English book and by way of this also says really insightful things about the large cultural changes that have occurred in the last several decades with reading and the study of literature. Any lit majors will probably geek out a lot reading it. The full text of the story is now behind a firewall, but try to find it if you can. There are many parts I love and want to quote, but will quote this one part because it ties in with a string of thought I am trying to explore in some form about our relationship to life and text in this Facebook age.

"Overnight, the World Wide Web weaves tightly around you. A novelty at first, then invaluable, then life support, then heroin. It's a chance to recapture everything you've ever lost: college friends, out-of-print rarities, quotations that had vanished forever. Your online hours must come from somewhere, and it isn't from your TV viewing. You lose whole days on the roller coaster of real-time eBay auctions. "

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