Thanksgiving Is Ruined

The Personal is Political. The Political is Personal.

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January 11, 2008
periodic table of silences

Ursula K. Le Guin, in the new Harpers, contemplates the (in her opinion, Clemensian) fate of the book in the current age of conglomerocorporate publishing; shakes her head with regret, and a hint of amusement; then observes:
Perhaps blogging is an effort to bring creativity to networking, and perhaps blogs will develop aesthetic form, but they certainly haven't done it yet.

Besides, readers [of books] aren't viewers; they recognize their pleasure as different from that of being entertained. Once you've pressed the ON button, the TV goes on, and on, and on, and all you have to do it sit and stare. But reading is active, an act of attention, of absorbed alertness -- not all that different from hunting, in fact, or from gathering.

In its silence, a book is a challenge: it can't lull you with surging music or deafen you with a screeching laugh tracks or fire gunshots into your living room; you have to listen to it in your head.

Her fascinating essay is entitled, "Staying Awake: Notes on the Alleged Decline of Reading."

The only minor point of clarification that TiR would toss in would be to say: Blogs can be silent too, or at least can aspire to be, in their own ways.

And on that note: Goodbye, for at least the next week.