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« e-Cages (Sujatha) | Main | An Even Dozen »

November 15, 2010


i wonder if the "private self" is a transient invention of modern urbanism and mass society. after all, in pre-modern villages and bands everyone was in everyone else's business.

I think that Zadie is reading too much, or perhaps too little in the seemingly offhand " Sorry babes! Missin’ you!!! Hopin’ u iz with the Angles. I remember the jokes we used to have LOL! PEACE XXXXX"

First of all, the spelling and grammar appear to be problematic for her? Is this Zadie Smith, for sure, as one who may be deploying all variants of English both of the Queen's and Commoner's variety? I see nothing to be appalled about.

Consider the sentiment. Yes, they may have been only FB 'friends', but surely that shouldn't discount the expression of sorrow at the loss of good times that were had.

I'm not a huge FB fan, but rambling on in a curmudgeonly manner about the loss of anomie that comes with the proliferation of social networks, especially in a public manner, give me a lovely illustration of a possible answer to Andrew's FB question "What is irony?"

Andrew's question was more probing: "Why does irony exist?"

For questions about irony, see Allegories of Reading.

For privacy, stop publishing in NYRB. What a condescending little twerp, this Smith chick. A very articulate snob, exactly.

Something tells me Ruchira expected I might sympathize with Smith. No, not at all. I am Luddite, but I am not anti-technology. To the contrary, my claim is that users of these technologies are not sufficiently immersed in them. Users take them for granted, without caring to understand them. This goes for Smith as well as the unfulfilled human beings she criticizes.

So, hey, what's wrong with highbrow gate-keeping? Smith complains about the depiction of Facebook in a MOVIE! Seriously? I wonder if after viewing The Wizard of Oz she complained that the Emerald City didn't have adequate parking. It's a movie, Ms. Smith, it's just a movie. And you know what? Movies are technologically generated, too.

Dean, you surprised me so much by agreeing with me that now I find myself "drooling." :-) I agree that we do need to understand what we are doing on the web sufficiently well and make informed choices, whenever possible.

Razib's point is well taken. The hang up about privacy may be a new found urban proclivity. On the one hand people complain constantly about the faceless, impersonal, uncaring city life and the charm of the closeness offered by small towns. (Yes, villagers of yore were extremely nosey. They helped each other during crises but also managed to do plenty of collective mischief) On the other hand, as soon as lives begin to take on a measure of transparency, enabled largely by the advent of the "web," suddenly some people are having a fit. The reality is that we haven't become more curious or suspicious of fellow human beings. What required knocking on doors to borrow a cup of sugar, watching from behind lace curtains, hiring the Pinkerton Agency or an efficient telephone grapevine earlier, can be now achieved solo in the "privacy" of one's home. No one is losing "personhood" or real life concerns just because they also choose to share data and communicate with people they haven't actually met.

Razib's main point is good as far as it goes. Facebook is no big deal, and there's a long history of public self-fashioning informing it. In short, I agree with his remarks 1 and 3. Remark 2 doesn't thrill me, but then I think his confession that he's into science fiction (euphemistically dubbed "speculative" and arbitrarily opposed to "literary") taints my view. Even the broader technological arc isn't that big a deal. First, it isn't a technological arc. It's an information organizational one that happens to resort to technology to make some of its advances (and declines). Mistaking the technology for the substance--the medium for the message, if you will--clouds the picture, because over the long haul the technology isn't that big a deal. (Consider the book.) Second, if the problem with Smith is her propensity for the vapors, then it doesn't help to suggest she ought to be more worried about looming dystopia. Chill, folks, it's just a movie.

Again, what happened to the movie? How did Smith's review veer away so acutely from its putative subject, and why do her commentators continue in the same direction?

This is just embarrassing. A Supreme Court justice complains that he can't understand the movie purportedly reviewed by Smith. His take from the movie is that "modern conditions" ought to inform constitutional interpretation. Have I just been punk'd? Is this serious? Can Breyer really be so thick, so remote, so solipsistic?

Why just Breyer? He at least is trying to understand the Original Intent of Facebook. I am more scared of the likes of Scalia, the Providentialist. But really!

This is hilarious, Dean. Must share it on Facebook. Thanks!

I find this article "gnashing white teeth and looking down a pretty nose" very hilarious, really. This is a brilliant article. Gnashing of teeth might sound weird, but there are some reasons about that. There might probably problems with the teeth, such as it is not properly aligned.

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