Privacy and How to Get It Back. B.J. Mendelson. London: Curious Reads, 2017.
With the ubiquity of information technology in our lives, the question of privacy is often neglected by consumers, citizens, private companies, and governments. In Privacy and How to Get It Back, Mendelson pulls back the curtain to show us how government regulations are insufficient to protect us from…
In the past people looked to religion or the arts for divine inspiration and a sense of wonder; today we look to technology, the gods of our age, for answers. Except for a few, people do not understand how information technology actually works while becoming more dependent on it for running our lives. For example, when we don’t know something,…
Kids are by nature mean. Smart phones make them meaner. Why? They can’t see the faces and experience the reactions of those they diss. Their “humor” is more cruelly fun than it might otherwise be, because it’s unchastened by empathy. Smart phones work against the emotion that evolutionary psychologists say we need to moderate our selfish struggle for status.
Until relatively recently, most people hearing that someone had a “gig” would assume that person was a musician. Whether for a night, a week, or even as a “steady gig,” we would assume the person had been hired in the limited sense that he was going to get paid a flat fee or percentage of the sales for a performance.…
“Technique has penetrated the deepest recesses of the human being. The machine tends not only to create a new human environment, but also to modify man’s very essence…. He must adapt himself, as though the world were new, to a universe for which he was not created. He was made to go six kilometers an hour, and he goes a…
Marshall McLuhan identified our time of postmodernity as the “ecological age” in which technological dominance has become planetary. This undeniable truth is a fact that may be symbolized by the visual image of satellites circling the entire globe. Accordingly, McLuhan liked to use Sputnik as a synecdoche for technology’s global embrace:“To free himself from servitude to his own artifacts has…
“The world exists to end in a book”
— Stéphane Mallarmé
“Happy is your Grace,
That can translate the stubbornness of fortune
Into so quiet and so sweet a style.”
—Shakespeare, As You Like It (II.i.19-21)
“Prayer is reversed thunder.”
In Chapter 6 of Understanding Media (1964), “Media as Translators,” Marshall McLuhan starts off by offering us an image of “the higher arboreal…
In this digital age of polarized politics, where can we look for guidance on how to turn down the heat? After all, we don’t want to blow ourselves up. Fortunately, although the imperative to use our most powerful weapons could be a catalyst for our own destruction, we also have alternative technological tools. These alternative tools are more than capable…
“There’s Nothing Like a Best Seller to Set Hollywood a-Tingle”
—The New York Times Book Review (Sep 16, 1962)
“I’d willingly start my next novel—about a small town—right now, but I need the diversion of a play.”
—John O’Hara, The New York Times Book Review (Nov 27, 1955)
“For most of our lifetime civil war has been raging in the world of art and…
He could not go.
He wanted neither to eat nor to sleep.
Only to lie there — eyes insatiably
Gazing into the eyes that were no eyes.
This is how his own eyes destroyed him.
— Ted Hughes, “Narcissus”
Unknowingly he desires himself, and
the one who praises is himself praised, and,
while he courts, is courted,
so that, equally, he inflames and burns.
How often he gave his lips…