Writing, or not, in the age of Google


Because we all have to face this brave new world:

The rise of corporate capitalism, and the astonishing, almost exponential rate of its recent acceleration, I would argue, present a huge challenge to the writer, forcing him or her to rethink their whole role and function, to remap their entire universe. There is no space outside this matrix, no virgin territory of pure “aesthetics” or neutral “reflection” on which it hasn’t impacted. If this situation isn’t entirely or categorically new (writers have been dependent on some kind of marketplace since time immemorial, of course), one aspect of it has (I’d suggest) reached tipping point: the issue of data saturation. Western literature may have more or less begun, in Aeschylus’s Oresteia, with a lengthy account of a signal crossing space, and of the beacon network through whose nodes the signal’s message (that of Troy’s downfall) is relayed – but now, two and a half millennia later, that network, that regime of signals, is so omnipresent and insistent, so undeniably inserted or installed at every stratum of existence, that the notion that we might need some person, some skilled craftsman, to compose any messages, let alone incisive or “epiphanic” ones, seems hopelessly quaint.

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