Critical Linking: April 3, 2012


“For too long, publishers have been worrying about the wrong thing, chasing pie-in-the-sky DRM that has never worked at stopping piracy, and will never work. In the process, they’ve fashioned a scourge for their own industry—a multimillion-dollar liability that their customers will have to absorb in order for publishers to get back any leverage at the bargaining table.”

Stuff like DRM is what you get when you apply old thinking in a new world.


“When a person accustomed to a university library first walks into the New York Public Library’s research division, it’s confusing. You can’t check the books out. Does that mean it’s like course reserves, or that it’s like a rare book room? Am I at the top or the bottom? Neither, really, and if you’re coming from the hierarchical world of a university, that may spark some anxieties. I know that when I first started using the NYPL research division, after having used the libraries at Harvard and then Columbia, I found the system annoying. Harvard and Columbia trusted me to take their books home. Didn’t the NYPL know how special I was?”

Have totally had this feeling. People who have only been to private school don’t have any idea what the advantages of “public” can be.


“Your book is literally open on my lap right this moment. Is that awkward? It’s always awkward for me when people say the same about my work.”

When a porn star says that, it’s not a double entendre. Just a regular old entendre.


“A book club is a homogeneous gathering of nice people who do not write. Their living rooms or summer patios become a “waiting place” where they listen for a “yes or a no”; that is, they want to believe that the author is a nice person who sees the world just like they do. Which the author does not, because, well, he’s an author. Negotiating this psychic territory while cheerfully talking about one’s book is no easy thing, because an author’s book club persona — necessarily agreeable if not charming — is not altogether truthful.”

Though I am not in a book club, if I were, the last thing I would want is having the author visit my book club when we were talking about their book. But I guess people do that.


“When you take someone who’s learning and you rubber stamp their work as DONE, you aren’t actually doing them any favors. Really.”

True for publishing (self- or otherwise), true for teaching, and true for rock-climbing (I would think).

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