Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Turn Off Your Computer

Turn it off.
Don’t read this. I really wish you wouldn’t. So please do both me and yourself a favour and turn this off. It’s true that this is a blog. And I’ve been writing this blog for the past few days. There’s a first time for everything. But I don’t find it very satisfying. So I would prefer that you read books, articles, letters, and the like that have been published in print.

Thankfully, very few people will read this. And I don’t want you to either. So don’t. If you care about books, music, and film, then turn this thing off, if you can bear to, and go read a book; write a letter; pick out an album, look at the artwork, and put it on and listen to it from beginning to end; or grab a video or DVD and watch it.

I love all kinds of books, movies, and music. I love these objects. People say I am real gourmand for loving these things so democratically. But I just can’t get used to a reality in which these works of art have lost their physical form. It’s true that there are still bookstores, still video stores and movie theatres, still music stores, still stationery stores, and the objects in them. But these places, and the objects inside them, seem to be disappearing. Friedrich Engels (and Marshall Berman) suggests that “All that is solid melts into air.” And these places and objects seem to be doing just that, melting into air. 

So enjoy your neighbourhood while it lasts, because these stores seem to be disappearing from a lot of neighbourhoods. I don’t know what’s supposed to replace them. And enjoy these objects, because these objects seem to be disappearing, too. I think we all know what’s replacing them. And I don’t like it. I don’t really want any part of it. I don’t want to read your favourite blog, or download your favourite song, film, or book.

But if you’ve got an object, something I can hold in my hands, I’ll give it a try. If you’ve got an album you want me to listen to, I’ll listen to it twenty times. If you’ve got a film you want me to watch on my VCR or DVD player, I’ll watch it five times. If you’ve got a book, you’d like me to read, I’ll read it. And then what friends we’ll be. But don’t read this blog. Turn it off. But if you’re at a music store, a book store, a video store, a stationery store, I’ll see you there—and we’ll have lots to talk about.  

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