Doris Lessing is god
The great Doris Lessing's acceptance speech for this year's Nobel prize is now online at The Guardian, and you need to read it. Everyone you know needs to read it.
Frankly I've never seen a more powerful criticism of tech culture, or a more potent defense of book culture. I'm easily influenced anyway, as regular readers know, but good heavens. If ever something was likely to get me offline again and back into a paper notebook, it'd be this speech.
we never thought to ask, "How will our lives, our way of thinking, be changed by the internet, which has seduced a whole generation with its inanities so that even quite reasonable people will confess that, once they are hooked, it is hard to cut free, and they may find a whole day has passed in blogging etc?"
Not long ago, a friend in Zimbabwe told me about a village where the people had not eaten for three days, but they were still talking about books and how to get them, about education.
And I sit here blogging as a distraction from marking, when my nonfiction students have exposed their lives and faiths and weaknesses for me, and I lack the strength either to judge or to honour them as they deserve. Granted, I don't have the peace or the space or the silence that Lessing sees as essential for a writer's existence, but [insert curse here], why am I so ready to waste time rather than to claim a place in the world? What the -- and I use this word with great caution in this blog -- fuck?
the enemy of great writing is not the web. It may, instead, be the mind-dulling latter stages of capitalism, which increasingly bamboozles us all. The Internet can oppose, as much as support, this ad-copy-world.