The Great Internet Bookburning Panel
Peter Plate, Ethan Watters, Brenda Knight, Alan Kaufman, Herbert Gold
Books Inc. in the Opera Plaza
Fri, 09/18/2009 - 7:00pm
The Books Inc. in Opera Plaza hosted this provocatively-titled panel discussion with local authors & publishers, all of them decrying the decline of a book-centered, literary culture. The Internet & Google were the big enemies here. The panel was prejudiced & condescending. Herbert Gold quipped, "The computer is a really useful tool. I wish I had one." Peter Plate correlated the rise of texting with the fall of teenagers' vocabularies. Brenda Knight admitted that she wouldn't hire someone who played MMORPGs, because they wouldn't be able to do the things expected of them. I disagreed with everything the panelists said, & I found the discussion absolutely engaging.
There seems to be a lot of fear mixed with a nostalgia for a golden age of books. Herbert Gold regrets that authors are no longer rock stars, as Norman Mailer was in his day. A member of the audience with a Scotts accent pointed out the many advantages of the book as an object, delightedly recounting how he once tore the pages out of a book & stuffed them in his mouth to treat a toothache.
A big thank you to Books Inc. for presenting something so thought-provoking that wasn't just some author hawking a new book. The event was attended by about 25 people plus one occasionally restless dog.