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Old 10-28-2009, 09:50 AM   #1
Steven Lyle Jordan
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Kaufman links e-book trend to bookburning, Nazis

Author Alan Kaufman in a recent essay rails against the fall of books and the rise of e-books, believing a soulless takeover is being orchestrated around him. He sees something much more sinister in the e-book than most of us:
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The book is fast becoming the despised Jew of our culture. Der Jude is now Der Book. Hi-tech propogandists tell us that the book is a tree-murdering, space-devouring, inferior form of technology; that society would simply be better-off altogether if we euthanized it even as we begin to carry around, like good little Aryans, whole libraries in our pockets, downloaded on the Uber-Kindle.
I can understand a sentimentality towards printed books. But Kaufman's words sound like those of a bitter old man seeking to intentionally frighten people, based on his own lack of appreciation of progress, and an apparent inability to separate the pulp from the ideas carried inside them.
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Old 10-28-2009, 10:13 AM   #2
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I don't think you'll find a lot of people who say that all books will disappear. And most people who now are glad to get rid of their books, would probably not be doing that if they had all the space they wanted to showcase their books.

He sounds like a petulant child who wants something but can't have it. Thus, it's not good...
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Old 10-28-2009, 10:18 AM   #3
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Wow, Kaufman, drama queen much? What a turd.
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Old 10-28-2009, 10:22 AM   #4
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I find his quote extremely offensive. Comparing ebooks to Hitler and his insanity?

Sounds like he needs to take the way-back machine and experience that for himself.

Perhaps then he might have a better perspective.
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Old 10-28-2009, 10:25 AM   #5
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Just another anti-progress dork. Added to my internal /ignore list.

There will be progress into new technology wether you like it or not, if you want to hang on to outdated stuff, feel free. But don't drag me along with you.
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Old 10-28-2009, 10:35 AM   #6
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*yawn* Yet another hyperbolic Luddite.

Maybe someone should've mentioned to him that his beloved bookstores that have been closing for the last few years weren't affected by ebooks (which are still 5% of the market or less), but by online book retailers, and stores like Walmart. Of course, that would require effort and research rather than an irrational gut reaction...
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Old 10-28-2009, 10:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
But Kaufman's words sound like those of a bitter old man seeking to intentionally frighten people, based on his own lack of appreciation of progress, and an apparent inability to separate the pulp from the ideas carried inside them.
That's a nice way of putting it.

I would have used the word "idiot", but that's just me.
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Old 10-28-2009, 10:43 AM   #8
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One of the most repulsive, offensive things I've read in a long time.
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Old 10-28-2009, 10:51 AM   #9
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Let me play on it a little...

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The scroll is fast becoming the despised Jew of our culture. Der Jude is now Der Scroll. Hi-tech propogandists tell us that the scroll is a goat-murdering, space-devouring, inferior form of technology; that society would simply be better-off altogether if we euthanized it even as we begin to carry around, like good little Aryans, whole pages under our armpit, sewn together in the Uber-Hardback.
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Old 10-28-2009, 11:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
But Kaufman's words sound like those of a bitter old man seeking to intentionally frighten people, based on his own lack of appreciation of progress, and an apparent inability to separate the pulp from the ideas carried inside them.
I've read the essay, and got impression that internet and e-books were... a collateral damage. Yes, he sees them as tools of evil, but he clearly paints the picture that evil is what is done to the content(of the book), not so much how it is done.

Labeling him as an "old technophobe" falls into (over)simplification, as far as I am concerned.
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Old 10-28-2009, 11:52 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ankh View Post
Labeling him as an "old technophobe" falls into (over)simplification, as far as I am concerned.
Kaufman clearly romanticizes "the book," to the point of attributing reverent status to it. But as he waxes over the wonders of the content, he suggests that that content will be irrevocably and horribly changed by moving it from ink to electrons. And sure, he brings up the recent Amazon book-deleting fiasco, as if Amazon somehow sent out a magic virus that swept the globe and wiped those books from the face of the Earth.

In multiple places he suggests that e-books are "evil," an insult to God, that e-books threaten human existence. He acts like ink printed on paper cannot be changed, lost, hateful or wrong.

Actually, it sounds very technophobic to me.
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Old 10-28-2009, 11:57 AM   #12
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Maybe, by putting his own writing on the Internet, he thinks he's proving his own point.
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Old 10-28-2009, 12:00 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sparrow View Post
Maybe, by putting his own writing on the Internet, he thinks he's proving his own point.
and also

Quote:
Like dead souls leaving their earthly bodies the books are, in effect, going to a better place: the Kindle, the e-book, the web; hi-tech's version of Paradise.
The difference between the Kindle and the e-book is what exactly?
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Old 10-28-2009, 12:09 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Jordan View Post
Kaufman clearly romanticizes "the book," to the point of attributing reverent status to it. But as he waxes over the wonders of the content, he suggests that that content will be irrevocably and horribly changed by moving it from ink to electrons.
Uhm... I've got impression that his fear was more specific, that he fears the loss of identity of "The Book" during the transformation. That one Project Gutenberg is sentenced to the irrelevance if it is forced to live in the cacophony of... not so good content that defines "The Net" as we know it.

I am not saying that he is not technophobic. I am arguing that there is more to this Kaufman's piece than bare, naked, technophobia.
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Old 10-28-2009, 12:18 PM   #15
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First off, I'm flagging Godwin's Law on this.

So, it is offensive to want the SAME thing in a different form? The important thing about books is the content. Yes, presentation matters, but not when there is nothing to show.
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