Thursday, September 02, 2010

quoting the smart

(image courtesy Random House)

"...certain puritanically destructive transformations of old things into new things seem to excite people - otherwise polite, educated, law-abiding people - and it's up to other normally polite people to try to stop them."

It's been a while since I've shared a quote. Unfortunately, so much of my reading these days doesn't fit all the criteria for the "quoting the smart" feature, but this book most certainly does:

Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper, by Nicholson Baker (of the New Yorker)

Why have I not jumped aboard the free-culture, why-bother-with-copyright?, open-everything bandwagon? After all, it is a very attractive bandwagon, and all sorts of cool and fun-loving types are already happily riding it.

I haven't jumped aboard because for the time being it looks to me that in order to do so, one has to happily discard or seriously weaken certain individual rights I hold dear.

In his book, Nicholson Baker wonders why there has to be a decision between preserving newspapers as paper artifacts and microfilming them to increase access. Why not do both?

I feel the same way about copyright reform.

Why should we choose between having valuable individual creative rights under copyright and increasing access to creative content and our shared culture. Why can't we have both?

Until more people (especially those charged with this reform) start asking for both, I'm happy to keep walking behind the bandwagon with all my rights intact.

Not entirely unrelated:

Will the Book Survive Generation Text? is not your typical death-of-the-book nostalgia piece. Published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Carlin Romano's elegy to textual wholeness asks some pertinent questions about how digital expediencies might be changing education for the worse. It's also a little bit funny.

"Plagiarism, having evolved, with the help of Stanley Fish, from mortal academic sin to mere "breach of disciplinary decorum," will be an elective track, on a par with fiction and poetry, within the creative-writing major."

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