Sunday, March 7, 2010

yesterday long, today short

A long blog yesterday on why no nook, no Kindle. Then a friend of mine said to me today that maybe I would learn to read differently. Maybe. And I can see that happening. And I can hold out for the iPad.

Or maybe I'm just a dinosaur who likes to write by hand and still thinks of his computer as being like a very nice typewriter (oh where is my olivetti lettera, the choice of so many writers?).

Today was a beautiful end of winter hint of spring day. I graded papers. I typed two poems (out of notebooks). I worked on Hinojosa translations (with a pencil). I watched Kentucky beat Florida and started thinking how next Sunday is selection Sunday and then the whole NCAA tournament begins (happiness). And baseball is coming. A wonderful time of year.


Bryan's workshop blog said...

Mark, how does the tv fit into your reading and writing ecology? Is it an old enough technology that it's normalized into the background?

I ask this as someone who's become profoundly alienated by tv. The thing jars me when it's on, having become an intruder in my world. Didn't use to.

Mark Statman said...

Bryan, what a great question. The tv goes on for specific reasons and then is off. I'd say we rarely watch it--for rented movies, etc, for some sports, the news, but not much else. So regular tv watching just isn't there.

But I can't say I've become alienated from it because I never really was close to it. I think there have been times when someone would suggest a show and I'd watch it, but the reality is I would rather read, would rather listen to music, would rather talk.

On the other hand, I am a fan of late-night talk radio, WNYC, for example, or when I'm traveling, an NPR station. Or some music. But these are probably transitions into sleep, after I no longer feel like late-night reading.

Normalized is an interesting word here. I was talking with a friend tonight about my decision not to buy the nook or Kindle, that it just didn't fit me as a reader, and I mentioned how this made me seem like some kind of dinosaur. That I use a pencil (yes!) and pen and notebook for writing. And he quoted (the name slips away) the line that there is no such thing as underdeveloped poetry (here the language of colonialism). That is, a great poem is a great poem no matter the culture.

It reminds me that the guitar does not make the guitarist, nor the bicycle the rider. Sure a fine tool adds something, but it is the human quality in all this that counts, no? Technology that does not fit the human holds no real place in my life.

Bryan's workshop blog said...

Lots to chew on, there!

tv: "the reality is I would rather read, would rather listen to music, would rather talk" - me too. I guess "watch good movies" is in there as well, but the viewing mechanism (theater, tv, laptop doesn't matter as much as the content).
Using a tv as a platform for displaying non-broadcast/non-cable/ non-satellite tv content seems to be a very different thing than sucking down the channels. What's the opposite of a coach potato?

radio: now that sounds like it's more normalized into your textual life. More congruent with your reading ecosystem than tv, perhaps?
I also wonder what it would be like if radio theater had survived, into our lives.

e-readers: they're nowhere near mainstream, yet. Still rare, as far as I can tell from observation, shadowy stats, and public discussion. A Kindle is, in that sense, statistically like a limited first edition, perhaps.
If the iPad or new tablets in general go mainstream, I cheerfully bet you a coffee that reading won't be their primary use, at least in terms of media coverage. It'll be video.

PS: it's great, brooding about this stuff with you. Many thanks for the writing.

Mark Statman said...

Yes, Bryan, this has been a good discussion.

As for that coffee, I think I'd lose. A friend of mine, who has a Kindle, is already looking forward to the iPad (I think she has already put in her order). I don't know what else she'd use it for than video since that is what the Kindle, nook etc won't do.

And the interesting thing about radio theater is that when a group sat around to listen, they looked at each other, which made it participatory in a funny way. You laughed or thought or cried (sometimes) not at but with. If I am watching a movie, I have to turn from the screen to respond to another, which means breaking away from the experience to have another.

Could it be that couch potato has no antonym? Will chew on that.