Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Nostalgic For Future Times

The internet has grown increasingly a space for literature as time goes by. As a child, books were so wondrous and magical I couldn't help thinking, outside of the fame I would achieve once I appeared on television, perhaps on the Junior version of my favorite TV game shows like Joker's Wild or Wheel of Fortune, that the greatest success in my lifetime would be to write and publish a novel--and in those days it meant something like a cross between science fiction and medieval discovery narrative (later named "the literature of encounter"), in which a person travels to the coldest, most distant, bleakest edge of the universe that transforms itself, just as the hero and his faithful dog cross the most dangerous mountain pass or galactic chasm, into some kind of unexpected, magically new world.

I'm only saying this much because I have to admit that I consider it a publication (or a citation, the good kind, not like a parking ticket) when a comment I posted on Facebook is used on a Blog that is part of a Newspaper website. Nothing made it into print, and yet I feel I was validated somehow. Thanks, Bob.

Speaking of print, I realized just how bad things have become when the website for the University of Chicago Press posts a typographical error on their front page. I know that I write and publish typos all the time. That's usually because I'm the only person who reads my posts before I hit "Publish Post". But I love editors and proofreaders. I wish I had a partner, employee, editor, collective, or some other arrangement in order to solicit, edit, design and publish little scratch pad press books. But the University of Chicago?? Inventors of the Chicago Manual of Style; the pickiest, white-glove testing grammar-hammering book on editing in existence?? Inventors of the the Chicago School of Economics and snatcher of all those Nobel Prizes?? Anyway, I thought the typo was funny. Maybe an act of protest, even. Now more than ever, there is an unsettling and increasingly thin divide between the public and the . . . . (well, read it for yourself):

In Another Freedom: The Alternative History of an Idea, Svetlana Boym explores the rich cross-cultural history of the idea of freedom, from its origins in ancient Greece through the present day, suggesting that our attempts to imagine freedom should occupy the space of not only “what is” but also “what if.” “Another freedom” is an adventure that tests the limits of uncertainty and responsibility, of individual imagination and pubic culture. Read an excerpt.

Let the adventure begin!


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