Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Monks of Spamalot

I read Morris Berman's The Twilight of American Culture about fifteen years ago, and I still have a soft spot for it. It appealed to the bookish misanthrope in me. His idea of New Monastic Individuals, it would be fair to say, has some parallels with my own conception of the good life, one of avoiding status and power for the sake of individual conscience. But for someone who talks about the need to lighten up, his humor these days strikes me as too bitterly dejected to be appealing, and I naturally find it hard to take seriously anyone who takes Nicholas Carr seriously.

This, though, was unintentionally hilarious. I was partly amused by the tentative suspicion that an influx of spam was the doing of ideological enemies before being condemned as another example of unrestrained capitalism, but mostly it was the admission that he paid some guy "a huge amount of money" to set the blog up in the first place. You paid some guy to set you up on Google's free blogging platform, and he didn't even bother to click the spam filtering option for you? Look, you crotchety old coot, I say it with sympathetic affection, but while you're waiting for America and civilization in general to collapse, you might want to take a break from shaking your cane at those damn kids and familiarize yourself with some technology, at least enough to prevent being fleeced of your life savings while the currency still retains some symbolic value.