L'Internet, writing

our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts

“Sometime in 1882, Friedrich Nietzsche bought a typewriter—a Malling-Hansen Writing Ball, to be precise. His vision was failing, and keeping his eyes focused on a page had become exhausting and painful, often bringing on crushing headaches. He had been forced to curtail his writing, and he feared that he would soon have to give it up. The typewriter rescued him, at least for a time. Once he had mastered touch-typing, he was able to write with his eyes closed, using only the tips of his fingers. Words could once again flow from his mind to the page.

But the machine had a subtler effect on his work. One of Nietzsche’s friends, a composer, noticed a change in the style of his writing. His already terse prose had become even tighter, more telegraphic. “Perhaps you will through this instrument even take to a new idiom,” the friend wrote in a letter, noting that, in his own work, his “‘thoughts’ in music and language often depend on the quality of pen and paper.”

“You are right,” Nietzsche replied, “our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts.” Under the sway of the machine, writes the German media scholar Friedrich A. Kittler , Nietzsche’s prose ‘changed from arguments to aphorisms, from thoughts to puns, from rhetoric to telegram style.’ ”

– from “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” in the Atlantic

gradschool, L'Internet, poetry


We had our first graduate poetry workshop yesterday. I obviously can’t say much about that in here, either, but I can say that we read this poem, Decorum, by Stephen Dunn, and that anyone who has ever been in a writing workshop or had thoughts about one should read it. It’s very funny.

Today we had another meeting of our other graduate poetry seminar. A point made in it that I thought was share-able with this blog is that some poets require more interpretation than others. We went on to discuss how this is not a judgment of quality; it simply means that the poets who need less interpretation tend to get assigned in classes less and get read by readers more.

This seems like an obvious point, but I am going to share it with my students tomorrow, as a way of explaining why the poems on our syllabus are all so thorny, and the poems which many of them already know and love – The Road Not Taken, or Directive, for example – are not included. (Although maybe it does need interpretation. Never speak too soon with Frost seeming simple to understand…)

Today I implemented an efficiency change I’ve been wanting to make for awhile – I shared all my class handouts, as Google documents, with all my students. This works so much better than me emailing everything to them as attachments. It’s fantastic.

Something else I would like to do for them, eventually – well, two somethings –

1) make some kind of online timeline of all the poets we study, so they can see the overlapping dates of publication and of existence. I think this is a project I could get the students to help me work on. I just have to start it.

2) start building a shared site of poems we love – me, them, everyone. That way they can share their favorite poems with each other even when we don’t have time to discuss everything in class. We could even do this across all the sections.
Hmmm. (I know it should be a wiki. I know. I am familiar. Really.) Sounds like more work. Maybe next week.

Today we (the grad students) were also paid for the first time, and there was much rejoicing. Finally, today, I am going to bed at a decent hour. Yes.

L'Internet, wordage, writing

hoist ourselves atop the oblongs

I just got totally Gmail-ad-snatched by this blurb: “Isn’t it time you started reading The Straddler?” Well, I clicked over, and sure enough, it’s a litmag, they have Robert Frost’s Twitter page, and a bunch of stuff on architecture. Another example of successful advertising through guilt.

The Editors write:
If we are able to see more clearly the web of forces structuring, to a greater or lesser extent, our lives, we may be able to hoist ourselves atop the oblongs for a few moments—or even longer—and hear more clearly what it actually is that beats in our deep heart’s core.

L'Internet, travel

the red pill makes your internet bigger

Hey Alice, you can make the font on websites larger by pressing Apple (command) – plus key, smaller by pressing Apple (command) – minus key. I can now read Maud Newton, after all these years of wondering what everyone was talking about. Yes, Dara, it is a really good litblog site! Who knew! Not me – eyes hurt like hell every time I tried to read it.

Sometimes I wonder if the reason my vision is getting so bad so quickly is, like everything else, that misguided but quixotic “year of freelance assistant directing” business. Recipe: Take all the healthbucks you have left, and spend them – in one place. Result: memories for a lifetime, and ailments to match. Too much time in tech and on planes and on couches. The statement “I’m not as young as I used to be” is true for all values of “I,” “am,” “young,” and “used,” so perhaps it has no meaning.

books, L'Internet

my world is happy

Interview with Jessa Crispin on The View From Here:

“First of all, congratulations for coming second place in the Weblog awards behind Neil Gaiman! How did you feel about the result?

It’s an unfair match up, me and Neil Gaiman. He’s got legions of fans. If he asks them to do something, politely in that accent of his, it’s just over. I should challenge him to something I have an actual chance of winning. Like a pie eating contest, or thumb wrestling.”


Keep your friends close…

And your enemies online. Being on the Institute for Distributed Creativity list has brought the much-needed phenomenon of anti-social networking to my attention. If I had an estate to endow on someone, I would endow it on these people.

Enemybook: “Enemybook is an anti-social utility that disconnects you to the so-called friends around you. Enemybook remedies the one-sided perspective of Facebook, by allowing you to manage enemies as well as friends. With Enemybook you can add people as Facebook enemies, specify why they are your enemies, notify your enemies, see who lists you as an enemy, and even become friends with the enemies of your enemies.”

Snubster: “Who Needs Friends: The Snubster Difference”
(Apparently Snubster is actually becoming a real networking site now, and people are bonding over their shared dislikes – which is how we really make friends, after all..)

Here’s a real quote from someone’s Snubster list: [name of guy she hates] i sit next 2 him in social studies & he is always yelling across the room 2 Britney & making noises. he gives me a headache & actually annoys me on purpose. I HATE HIM!!!!!

Hatebook (made by Germans) Hatebook is an anti-social utility that disconnects you from the things YOU HATE.

“As some day it may happen that a victim must be found,
I’ve got a little list–I’ve got a little list
Of society offenders who might well be underground,
And who never would be missed–who never would be missed!


The Institute for Distributed Creativity

I just got an email inviting me to join the mailing list for the Institute for Distributed Creativity. The archives are here, and anyone can subscribe at this link.

We would like you on board because we believe that you would be a great addition to the wide range of new-media theorist practitioners, artists, urbanists, scientists, designers, educators, and activists currently on this list. Founded in 2004, the Institute for Distributed Creativity and its mailing list are an experiment. This list strives for concentrated debate on the shifting paradigms surrounding the Social Web. Our collaborative research works to integrate expert culture with public debate. When you post to the iDC list about 1600 subscribers will find your post in their inbox.

The landscape of list culture offers much-appreciated announcement lists that are completely unmoderated.
Trebor Scholz, however, moderates this list. It established a consistently high quality of posts where announcements or anonymous posts will not be published. Super brief posts as well as multiple; simultaneous posts by one author are discouraged. If you would like to share URLs with the list, please add a few sentences contextualizing the website.

Trebor is the co-author of the forthcoming The Art Of Free Cooperation.

L'Internet, theater, Uncategorized

The Shakespeare In Performance database

is “a searchable database of performance materials from over 1000 film and stage productions related to Shakespeare’s works,” and I’m listed on it, as the AD for Romeo and Juliet this summer at OSF. It’s still pretty new. If I search for the director of R&J, for example, it lists that but not his production of Two Gents the year before. Still, a cool idea.

Like IBDB or IMDB.
Now if someone would just make an Internet theater searchable database – for all productions, historical and present – it’s so silly that IBDB is only Broadway – so I could search for Moliere, for example, and see all the productions he acted in as well as those he wrote…It would have to be a wiki, so the scholars could edit it back and forth at each other. And as long as they’re granting my wishes, maybe it could also include future productions, so I could know what my next show was going to be.

I bet that would be something that would take off. If some programmingly inclined person wants to help me and Amina hack a basic version of it onto Upstage, we might be able to get something started. Eh?

I made two wikis for the DCTC production I’m on now, by the way – both private, for production use only. It’s a very useful theater tool. I should write a post about how to make a wiki, but it’s so easy it seems silly. You just do what pbwiki.com tells you.

L'Internet, TV, writing

That and fifty cents will get you a formulaic television series

My father, who is more up on his entertainment industry news than I am, due to living in Los Angeles, informed me of what the world has known for two days – Quarterlife has been picked up by NBC.

TVSquad:“This isn’t a realistic portrayal of twentysomethings (at least I hope it isn’t). It’s merely an interpretation of twentysomething lives as seen through the eyes of fiftysomething producers.”

And, from the comments on that same post: ” “I only see one relevant sentence in that NY Times article. “The series … will not be affected by the current writers’ strike because of its ownership structure.” I think NBC just jumped at the chance to have any kind of scripted programming on for the spring.” “

So, since Herskovitz is a producer – and like all the producer/writers on reality TV and otherwise, is avoiding the WGA by claiming not to be writing – and since he’s writing QL, making it bad, but also making it scabbable – he’s managing to not only sell out the indie-cred of the Internet, but also work around the WGA strike (which is ABOUT getting WGA members paid for Internet work) thereby undermining the strikers even further. His rhetoric about working outside the studio system has played back into the studio system’s hands.

Now THAT – a producer tries to be indie and ends up selling out days later, through a model of creating scripted TV that removes the need for striking Guild writers – would be an interesting concept for an Internet television series.

WGA negotiations resume Monday.