Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hamlet's Blackberry

Last night at a party we watched friends in the same room texting each other. J took a 

picture of L & J, unbeknownst to them, and sent it to their cell phone. One friend 

reported that when her son and grandson are having difficulty communicating, they go into 

separate rooms and text each other. Interesting, no? and fun . . . but in Hamlet's 

Blackberry the author discusses the digital age and how connected we are . . . and maybe 

don't always want to be. 

LORD POLONIUS: I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.

LORD POLONIUS: What do you read, my lord?

HAMLET: Words, words, words.

LORD POLONIUS: What is the matter, my lord?

HAMLET: Between who?

LORD POLONIUS: I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.

I highly recommend: Hamlet's Blackberry

From Publishers Weekly
Our discombobulated Internet Age could learn important new tricks from some very old thinkers, according to this incisive critique of online life and its discontents. Journalist Powers bemoans the reigning dogma of digital maximalism that requires us to divide our attention between ever more e-mails, text messages, cellphone calls, video streams, and blinking banners, resulting, he argues, in lowered productivity and a distracted life devoid of meaning and depth. In a nifty and refreshing turn, he looks to ideas of the past for remedies to this hyper-modern predicament: to Plato, who analyzed the transition from the ancient technology of talking to the cutting-edge gadgetry of written scrolls; to Shakespeare, who gave Hamlet the latest in Elizabethan information apps, an erasable notebook; to Thoreau, who carved out solitary spaces amid the press of telegraphs and railroads. The author sometimes lapses into mysticism—In solitude we meet not just ourselves but all other selves—and his solutions, like the weekend-long Internet Sabbaths he and his wife decreed for their family, are small-bore. But Powers deftly blends an appreciation of the advantages of information technology and a shrewd assessment of its pitfalls into a compelling call to disconnect.

*Photo of Hamlet poster taken in Estonia 2009
Sorry for the spacing at the beginning - can't seem to fix it. 

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