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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"The goddamn thing should be zippy and relevant"

In a column about Nick Carr’s Atlantic article in the Sunday Times (London), Andrew Sullivan draws on his personal experience as a prolific blogger to describe what the Web has given and what it has taken away. He avers the online culture and web utilities like email, IM, Google search, linking etc., is making him highly intolerant and seeking instant nirvana.

“When it comes to sitting down and actually reading a multiple-page print-out, or even, God help us, a book, however, my mind seizes for a moment. After a paragraph, I’m ready for a new link. But the prose in front of my nose stretches on....

....Is this a new way of thinking? And will it affect the way we read and write? If blogging is corrosive, the same could be said for Grand Theft Auto, texting and Facebook messaging, on which a younger generation is currently being reared. But the answer is surely yes – and in ways we do not yet fully understand. What we may be losing is quietness and depth in our literary and intellectual and spiritual lives.”

I don’t think so. I think it saves me a lot of junk read. It cuts down a lot of clutter and takes us to the real `it’. I am quickly up to what I want and get back to work. In the process, I get entertained and don’t overshoot and waste time. A lot of stuff that we used to read was random, had not always been out of choice; we did that because we were seeking something specific that we didn’t know where to find. But today, I know and I stay informed in split second. My craving for quick answers could deprive me of the empty stage needed for honest discovery. They say the new knowledge can't be reached if our minds don't pass through the "not-knowing" stages. So, what’s wrong? Ok. You be the radical and use your inner search field, I’d be the incremental using Google search and bringing up pill-sized solutions because I may be wired that way.

If I feel I want to immerse myself in a literary soup, I can always reach for a book. But the goddamn thing will have to be zippy and relevant – just like the google search ;) It's got to be a call to writers than a cautioning of readers...

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