Saturday, June 06, 2009


I spent some hours this week reading about the state of the book business, technology, the Kindle, the threat of Amazon to independent booksellers, etc. It is all unsettling: almost as bad as reading the general news, which I rarely do. The chaos merchants, the doomsayers, the virulent emotional arguments.

Some of it is just good old "progress." Most of what is upsetting to me is the whole attempt to create the idiocracy, an "attempt" that is becoming the way it is. The internet contributes across the boards to most of the changes and who really knows what the world bankers are up to.

But another thing that both history and literature show is that human intelligence, spirit, goodwill, and so on, are not that easily suppressed. Some emperor or feudal lord or industrialist or banker or arms dealer will succeed in oppressing the masses, the ones who are really only fixated on what and how they are going to eat each day, but then a hero/rebel/saint rises up out of some unlikely corner and saves the day.

Funny thing: that is the basic story that most of us like to read, over and over everyday for a lifetime. It is the story of mankind. It is not a story of progress but a cyclical tale that repeats endlessly. We are all characters in this tale, we are not all heroes, but we sure are all in the story together.

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