- Mohsin Hamid, in a delightful Bookends piece for the NYTimes Book Review.
Two thoughts resulted from reading Hamid’s column and its companion piece by Adam Kirsch.
1) I read quite a bit more than I watch television. When someone asks why I’m able to read so much, that’s the answer. I probably spend 4 hours reading for every 1 hour I spend in front of film or TV.
2) Hamid’s thoughts about what the novel can do that television can’t may have just made me change my mind about what I want to write after I finish THE FIREMAN.
And here’s a third thought, thrown in at no extra charge:
3) after shelling out for a library card, subscribing to the New York Times Book Review is probably the best single use of an aspiring writer’s spare change.
Here’s a thought—what is the “higher bandwidth” activity: reading, watching cinema/tv, or listening to music?
Totally open theoretical question, because I can see lots of different ways to define bandwidth.
Video is very immersive, so that seems high.
Music, on the other hand, can be overwhelming. Thinking of the overall glowing exhaustion I’ve felt after some live music experiences. Not as much data perhaps, but data that forces the mind to accept it in a much more full stream way… say, for sake of analogy, requiring 100% of your processor to handle the incoming stream of data.
Reading, however, is a very long, slow experience. Not so much about the quantity of data, but the monopolization of the data connection. Like streaming an entire video file through a 14.4 connection. It takes a while, and requires assembling, processing, and rendering on the other end.
I mean, the analogy is a little silly, because anything can be supremely meaningful if presented right. But from an artistic perspective, it does kind of focus the attention rather than the size and scope of the work (multi-million budget film!) to the size and scope of how the observer is going to interface with this work (open up your head jacks to this poem).
All of which is to say: a novel that can only be read by two people, while they are having sex. Like a entire world only existing in a public-key SSH tunnel. Come on, writers. Let’s get innovative.
as I had always thought for forever, but one patty smyth. (and don henley—!) I think it’s something to do with the confluence of this song, the film ‘the bodyguard,’ and my parents deciding to upgrade from VHS to laserdisc circa the early 90s. pretty sure the only laserdiscs we actually ever owned were that whitney houston flick and one of the gayatri mantra. a few weeks into my mother aspirationally laserdiscing the gayatri mantra every morning, the disc got stuck and that was the end of that