Sunday, January 20, 2008

Your NEXT read

I feel kind of sheepish about recommending this book on my blog but you have to get to the library and read this book…now!
Go on!
Stop reading, start the car, brave the arctic winds and get the book.
Well, if you are going to stubbornly read on, I’ll explain. We just finished Fast Food Nation in my AP Language class and I was looking for another read. While perusing the latest in the non-fiction aisle at Mt. Clemens Public Library, I came upon this title and thought it looked interesting. By the time I reached the bottom of the first page of the introduction, I was hooked. Keen, the author, had me at “steroids”.
In the introduction Keen crafts a conversation with a friend who was creating new software:
“It’s MySpace meets YouTube meets Wikipedia meets Google,” he said. “On steroids.”

I immediately appreciated the syntactical placement of “steroids.” I smiled and thought, “Now that was a well-placed intensifier.”

I read the next paragraph and new I stumbled upon a great read that I could apply to my English classes, life and even my next chapel.

“In reply, I explained I was working on a polemic about he destructive impact of the digital revolution on our culture, economy, and values.
‘It’s ignorance meets egoism meets bad taste meets mob rule,’ I said, unable to resist a smile. “On steroids.”

It’s the classic use of parallelism sprinkled with just enough sarcasm to push the point into his friend’s face and the reader’s literary pallet.

Keen immediately moves into an analogy using T.H. Huxley’s theory that if you provided an infinite number of monkeys with an infinite number of typewriters (computers for you youngsters) some monkey, somewhere will eventually craft a Shakespearean masterpiece. I’ve often used this theory and not just because I teach writing to high school students :)
The coupe de gra was Keen’s allusion to Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation to introduce the book’s assertion:
“On Wikipedia, everyone with an agenda can rewrite an entry to their liking – and contributors frequently do . Forbes recently reported, for example, a story of anonymous McDonald and Wal-Mart employees furtively using Wikipedia entries as a medium for deceptively spreading corporate propaganda. On the McDonald’s entry, a link to Eric Scholsser’s Fast Food Nation conveniently disappeared; on Wal-Mart’s somebody eliminated a line about underpaid employees making less than 20 percent of the competition” (Keen 4).

Still uncertain as to the book’s critical and informative scope? Keen’s title is The Cult of the amateur: How Today’s Internet is Killing our Culture. It’s an enlightening, affirming and quick read that won’t disappoint.

Now, quit blogging and read the book.


Anonymous said...

I just ran across a blog that had what I think is one of the greatest subtitles: "I'm not an expert...I just play one on the internet."

aarong1204 said...

I'm not sure that I want to read this book....

I'll happily continue to inject my daily dosage of electronic heroin. Guilt free, mind you!

JBrandt said...

Aaron, you need to read it. It's more insight than condemnation. There are some valid points and his concern with all the user-generated content is disturbing. I can write anything I want on a blog...let's say about Ron Paul and what I think I know about his actions. However, if Nolan Finley scribes an untruth, he loses his job. So what can be done and where is the future? That's chapter 8. I'll be giving it back to the library tomorrow. Since you spend so much time in The Clem, you might as well stop in and give it a read.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

This surely would be an interesting book to say the least.

So while I read this....

I would like you go read Robert Putnam's bolwing alone. Then I want you to write a paper about comparing and contrasting themes that both authors bring up.

JBrandt said...

Hmmmm, sounds like someone has a bit of "opportunity angst". Buck up li'l camper, you'll make it through. We are about to descend upon the literary gem, The Grapes of Wrath. Any thoughts?