In 1872, when the first clay tablets of the Epic of Gilgamesh were being rediscovered in the buried library of Assyrian king Ashurbanipal for the first time in almost two millennia, an anonymous article in The New York Times cogitated on the stunning divide between the advanced technologies of the day—the telegraph, the newspaper—and the advanced technology of Ashurbanipal’s day—baked clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform text. “It is hardly possible to conceive of two more opposite literary productions than the modern newspaper and the crumbling and mysterious records found among the ruins of antiquity,” they wrote. “A telegraph dispatch and a cuneiform inscription are both composed of letters, and are alike media for the transmission of intelligence; and yet how immeasurably different are the ideas of life, time, and space which the mention of the two suggests.” And while the difference between the cuneiform tablet and the telegraph must have indeed appeared vast, it is nothing compared to the chasm that separates the telegraph from the internet, the iPhone, the early days of V.R. and robotics, everything 2.0. These technologies, so unremarkable that they fit in our pockets, have deeply altered the lives and the worlds of people who use […]
Geoffrey Morrison, over at The Rusty Toque, has written a generous review of Arguments For Lawn Chairs. Morrison’s review looks at both my poetry book and David Huebert’s We Are No Longer The Smart Kids In Class. Check it out here!