Sunday, June 4
small obvious not quite ironies
I have a stack of five books on the floor by my desk. Four of them are
Learning Perl, Programming Perl, Linux in a Nutshell,
and Ruby in a Nutshell. The fifth is an anthology called
Questioning Technology, edited by John Zerzan and Alice Carnes.
This last book is an appealing object. It does not have a nineteenth century
woodcut of an animal on its yellow cover, but the design is simple and striking.
On the front it says
READ ON: MANY HANDS PRESENT THE OTHER SIDE
UNPLUG FROM THE SYSTEMS AND SWITCH ON YOURSELF. Along one edge of
the back, it says
This cover done with two fingers in two hours by Rufus
Segar on a Macintosh Plus with Pagemaker but the machine can't draw
There is a poetry to all of this.
Inside, we have Russell Means:
The only possible opening for a statement of this kind is that I
detest writing. The process itself epitomizes the European concept of
"legitimate" thinking; what is written has an importance that is
denied the spoken.
And Morris Berman:
The view of nature which predominated in the West down to the eve of the
Scientific Revolution was that of an enchanted world. Rocks, trees, rivers, and
clouds were all seen as wondrous, alive, and human beings felt at home in this
environment. The cosmos, in short, was a place of belonging. A member
of this cosmos was not an alienated observer of it but a direct participant in
its drama. His personal destiny was bound up with its destiny, and this
relationship gave meaning to his life. This type of consciousness ... bespeaks a
psychic wholeness that has long since passed from the scene.
There is also a poetry to this sort of writing. Its special quality may just
be that of being almost (but not quite) entirely wrong in a very literate way.
Possibly something more than that is going on. Superficially, at least, I'd be
hard put to think of a set of ideas more perfectly contradicted by their own
expression — which adds a special flavor to the whole enterprise.
Anyway, it's all kind of fascinating.