Celestial Weasel (celestialweasel) wrote,
Celestial Weasel
celestialweasel

Books

Hmm, don't seem to have read many thus far this year, too much reading crap on the internets I imagine.

3. 17 By Bill Drummond.
Music as conceptual art, see http://www.the17.org/.
I am probably in the top percentile for not finding this irksome, and I still found it irksome. Certainly not nearly as good as 45, his other book of essays. There is a valid point behind Drummond's idea which is to ask what is our relationship with music now that so much music of the past and present is readily available? However, there is a point beyond which you cannot get away with responding to the pointing out of contradictions with 'yes, you need to embrace the contradictions' and pointing out that you respond to the pointing out of contradictions with 'yes, you need to embrace the contradictions' etc. etc. and Drummond goes way way beyond that point.

4. The Book Of The Long Now by Stewart Brand
A reread, since this was obviously one of the thematic influences of Anathem. Compared to Brand's other works this is very glib and superficial. It is, I think, telling that most of the references in the end-notes are to pop science books. There was also a rather snobby bit where people who write emulators are described as 'vernacular programmers'. I imagine that this comes from the attitude of the people he hangs out with - we are people who think deep thoughts, they are grubby little people who live in their parents' basements.
Now I come to think about it, this was probably written about the same time as In The Beginning Was The Command Line (another major thematic influence on Anathem, something I am surprised hasn't been pointed out anywhere I have seen) - written back in the era when Disney had employed various 'great thinkers' of Comp. Sci. like Minsky and Hillis as 'fellows'. This got Disney lots of gushing column inches but those of us in the reality based community prefer to think of Disney as a large employer of low wage staff creating massive problems for surrounding communities (see http://www.amazon.com/Married-Mouse-Disney-World-Orlando/dp/0300098286). Similarly, those of us in the reality based community prefer to see Hillis, the person largely behind the Long Now Foundation, as the person behind a failed government funded boondoggle http://www.longnow.org/views/essays/articles/ArtFeynman.php.
Fundamentally, if you are a 60-something successful writer you are not going to get to meet young people doing interesting things as Brand did at the beginning of his career. See also Gibson, W.
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