The “Crisis” of the Networked Self: Manufactured, Patronizing, and Misguided

April 26, 2012 at 16:44 (Misc, Philosophy)

It strikes me as perfectly indicative of everything I want to say in this post that Sherry Turkle’s latest Cassandra impression in the New York Times is titled “The Flight From Conversation,” yet comes accompanied by an illustration that looks, to me, like a bunch of people having conversations.

I suppose it is something of a meta-comment to note that lately, an issue is topical when it shows up in the NYT and The Atlantic, lights up my Twitter radar, and then gets critiqued in Slate and again in The Atlantic. But really, the reason I am moved to comment has more to do with the fact that few things make me crankier than Turkle’s particular style of fretting critique, especially mobilized for the purpose of bemoaning the maladies afflicting our contemporary existence. Crankiness and caffeine, admixed in a solution of thesis-procrastination, apparently react to produce lots of text and a precipitate of crystallized snark.

To lead off with, here’s some ad hominem that actually has a legitimate role in the argument. I want to suggest that the fact that Sherry Turkle seems not to know how to have a genuine conversation via SMS or Facebook is her problem, not society’s. Read the rest of this entry »

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Who are your favorite fictional heroes?

July 29, 2011 at 15:16 (Misc)

It’s not every mom who emails you asking a question like that, but I was certainly neither taken aback at the question nor reticent in answering it! By the time I finished, it had become clear to me that my response was going to double as a blog post. The emphasis was on characters from my favorite fantasy and sci-fi books, movies, and video games. Considering that prompting, I didn’t exactly each very far outside of super-mainstream IPs, but so it goes. Unsurprisingly, this post contains mega spoilers for most of the works of fiction it discusses, particularly the Dark Tower books and Final Fantasy X.

Read the rest of this entry »

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February 8, 2011 at 06:48 (Misc)

My paternal grandfather – as wise, thoughtful, and gentle a gentleman as one could wish to look up to – was fond of the proverb “verba volant, scripta manent.” When 16-year-old-me set out on what remains one of the most magical travel experiences of my life, those four words of wisdom prompted me to scribble down as much as I could, and the difference it made stuck with me; words really do have a habit of flying off, and what remains to lend a feeling of continuity to our disjointedly collated experiences is what we’ve written.

In renewed observance of that lesson, I begin this blog in the hopes that I will be able to collect and preserve those measures of my endless daily ruminations that don’t fit into a 140-character box. The ready availability of such boxes also means that – at least, if all goes to plan – I’ll avoid using this space as a means of regurgitating the occurrences and annoyances of my day-to-day existence, or as a platform for sharing interesting material without substantive comment. We’ll see if I can hold myself to a policy of “render unto Zuckerberg what is Zuckerberg’s.” That, I think, is going to be the only content constraint on this little blogging project.

Other than that, this is a blog about my interests. It seemed like a reasonable idea to start it up because I need to practice writing in a (relatively) long-form way about whatever I happen to be mulling over. I suppose it will also be handy to learn the ins and outs of blogging. Maybe some people will even read it – or leave comments! That was largely not the point of my undertaking this venture, but we shall see where it goes. (Hopefully it won’t end up like the other Scripta Manent in the Blogspot-o-verse, abandoned after three pages of posts.)

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the title of this post, that’s the name of a Jewish prayer generally recited when embarking on a new or unusual experience – a way of saying “here goes a  novel undertaking, so let’s mark it off as such and hope it goes well!”

I like to imagine that my grandfather might have said it over his first blog post, if he had ever had the opportunity to write such a thing.

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