Updike’s speech

Sid Steward, a Rough Type reader, alerted me to the fact that BookExpo America has just released an audio recording of John Updike’s speech from last weekend, in which he responds to Kevin Kelly’s New York Times article “Scan This Book!” (I discussed Kelly’s article here and Updike’s response here.) As BookExpo says, “Mr. Updike abandoned a speech about his new book, Terrorist, in favor of a passionate discussion of books and booksellers – whom he called ‘the citadels of light.'” I haven’t listened to it yet, but Sid says, “It moved me to tears.”

Thanks, Sid.

One thought on “Updike’s speech

  1. Zephram Stark

    Updike says that books have edges that separate the ideas of one author from another: “For some of us, books are intrinsic to our human identity.”

    Now I understand why Mr. Carr wishes so vehemently for Wikipedia’s death. Beyond the monetary aspect, Wikipedia suppresses an author’s identity and compromises the power of his assertions. Worse still, Wikipedia does so without the author’s permission. If one says that he edits at Wikipedia, the next thing out of his mouth is usually a disclaimer that he disagrees with much of what is written. This disclaimer is necessary because the Wiki promotes the idea that its content is consensual, when in fact it can only truly be described as the opinion of the last editor.

    While wishing for the death of a useful new technology is always a vain hope, planning for an even more beneficial technology is realistic. A replacement for Wikipedia must cover every advantageous aspect of the original and, per Updike’s speech, it must allow the work to retain the power of our human identity.

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