December 12, 2006

Mediated by Thomas de Zengotita (Bloomsbury, 2005) comes highly recommended from Ken Myers. No wonder. This is a very thoughtful book, written with great energy. Every paragraph is quotable, and has the effect of holding up a mirror to the way we live now. For instance, comparing our penchant for “capturing the moment” in pictures with someone obsessively pulling the lever on a slot machine, de Zengotita says, “It gets like that with cameras on vacations, but not because of intermittent reinforcement. It’s because you don’t want to miss anything. Just seeing something counts as missing it . . . . The result is that you don’t really see anything. You either skim over it because it isn’t worth taking a picture of, or you take a picture of it. When you take a picture of it you feel as if you have it forever so you don’t have to really look at it. You are free to move on, looking for the next thing you can’t afford to miss.”

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