Handwriting headed for history?

TLS has a nice piece on two books at opposite ends of the spectrum with regards to the excellence of handwriting. One thinks and indeed hopes it will go away. The other celebrates its artfulness.

I am confident that handwriting has a future, but that future might be as an artist’s tool – as indeed was its origin. What will be lost, is a mode of expression, and it will be lost primarily for those without the inclination to learn the skill.

As the article puts it:

For those with a natural difficulty in being legible, the keyboard is a saving grace. Others too prefer it as their medium of self-expression. Yet, it is a “self” sublimated to the font choices of the corporation whose software you use. Of course, when we write by hand, we are also confined, individuality restrained by the requirements of the script, but there is a certain licence for variation and idiosyncrasy, however badly it is executed.

Money is (still) no cure for ignorance


It is the weekend, and the FT is “probing” another strain of conspicuous consumption: bespoke libraries. (Is there a wholesale version?)

WTF?

Paying people to assemble a library in your home is like paying them to hunt, kill, prepare and eat food for you – leaving you with some rotting antlers to hang on a wall.

For the more serious bibliophile, it might even be akin to hire someone else to fall in love, have sex, raise a family and send you the photoalbums to display as your own.

The pleasure of a personal library (or any private collection) is foremost in the process – the search, the read, your autonomous curation – without which the display is pure theatrical scenery. Glancing over the scenery offers you no memories, no connection of your own reflections, impulses, ideas and revelations – no history. The epic story of assembling your “bespoke collection” is that you sent some nerd an e-mail, he showed up at your house with a truck, you paid him a princely sum, and now you have a room full of inked paper.

But the worst part is that it seems completely counterproductive. Instead of being seen as well-read and intellectual, you increase the risk of proving that you are not. Imagine the embarassment of being asked by a house guest your opinions of a book in your personal library, and not being able to offer any.

It is like purchasing stage 4 Alzheimer’s.

Read the full article at: https://www.ft.com/content/9b4a4542-1e17-11e8-a748-5da7d696ccab

Radio: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

Happy World Radio Day, everybody! The 2018 theme is radio and sports, but never mind that.

As has been evident for some time, although wide adoption doubtless will take some time, podcasting is the new radio: Available on demand, episodic content, high quality and covering a bewildering number of finely sliced niche markets.

I wish I had the energy to launch my own podcast (on the enlightened holy practice of not giving a f**k), but en attendant Godot, here are some of my current favorites:

UPDATE Feb 19: Stumbled upon and pondering an interesting point from Quartz – “Live podcast recordings ruin everything that makes podcasts great

They go against everything I love about the medium of podcasting itself: that it is calming to listen to, not audibly jarring or interruptive, and I feel like the hosts or guests are talking to just me. Whereas public radio greats have an air of authority by mere virtue of being on NPR, the connection I build up with certain podcast hosts I listened to “before they were cool” feels genuine. The fact that it’s not reciprocal doesn’t matter much—until they invite an audience of people into my ears to shatter the illusion. They begin making jokes for the audience, not for me. The grating sound of applause or laughter fills the pauses that usually give me space to ponder. The echo of a theater sounds like the opposite of the uncommon silence of a studio I usually cherish.

As usual with Quartz, there is a discussion of opposing arguments as well. Still, I think I agree mostly with what Rosie Spinks is saying. Live audiences very seldom make a podcast better, but frequently interject.