You’re Fired, Books

Saturday | January 26th, 2013

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Much ado has been made in the last 10-15 years about the impending doom of books, authorship, publishing, the fall of the newspaper, and etc. In America (circa 10+ years back), newspapers were for reading and picking one up on a Sunday was kind of important. When I got to Korea and rode a train for the first time, I saw that newspapers were for sitting on and there was no fat Sunday edition to pick up. Even the English editions were terribly thin and short on content—even then protecting an ass from the filthy floor of the Mugunghwa was the best use of the Korea Times.

I needed and got, quicker than any book short of a Britannica volume set, all the information I could have wanted on three completely different subjects today. All the things listed above were summarily fired for their total irrelevance.

Dear Books,

Fuck you. You’re fired. None of you were able to explain to me where the fuck Mali is. Instead, the Internet stepped up with a massively interesting and informative site call Fuck Yeah Cartography (check out the feed!). You failed when I needed information about buzzing speaking and how electrical ground works, and the supplementary information request on the list, specifications, and images of all AC plugs in the world was also a failure. Wikipedia was of infinitely more help there, and even taught me that Korea’s plugs were influenced by European designs and Korea belongs to a European body for electrical standardization, CENELEC. More specifically South Korea uses a German spec plug commonly known as Shuko designed for 250v 16A 60Hz system1. Lastly, I wanted some information about Gyeongju and found that on Facebook.

Books, I’m firing you because you are a limited format in an age of expansive formats. And because you fail, so utterly and miserably as current events and that Mali shit has been happening for at least a week. Where’s my copy of ‘Everything You Want to Know about Mali’? Where’s my copy of ‘When Electronics Do Annoying Stuff (And How to Fix Them)’? They don’t exist, books. This is why you fail.

You see, Books, where once you were the only source of information and a vital part of daily life, now, you are little more than display shelf kitsch, like an old baseball glove or a commemorative coin set. You’re good to look at, browse through, sell … and little else.

As a child, I thought we’d be together forever, your warmth, weight, scent, and stories were enough to hold me to you. But that’s no enough. You touch and inspire, but you don’t connect. You don’t share. The world moved, but you didn’t. You stagnated and I’m disappointed in you, Books.

As an adult, I clung to hope for you for years, Books, I even kept you in a spot of continued honor in my household. I ignored your increasing irrelevance for a long time, and stood by my friend Books, heck, I’ve even defended you as a critical cog of modern society to other early-abandoners.

But the truth, however ugly, is that Books, you’ve been outmoded, outfunctioned, outusificationized by nearly everything. Where once you had the world in your palms, now you only have art, fantasy, or information so specific that not only is it completely esoteric in its form, but also in its practicality. What angers me the most, Books, is that your tech is circa 1200 A.D. from Korea2, not the circa 1400s Euro-tech printing press which began to crank out the Word for the degenerate masses. You’ve done little to improve yourself beyond slight changes or gimmicks like 40% less tree killing.

This is the end, Books.

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From Land of Maps, the Mali Situation, all the players, a gleam into how that refinery hostage slaughter factors in (was clueless about the connection until this map), the only thing missing is why the French care. It’s probably oil. The UK has Libya, the US Iraq, the French don’t wanna be cold.

1 South Korea’s mystery volt-age, amp-age, and hertz-age revealed in hero image which was sourced from Wikipedia here.

2 Another lie, perpetrated by none other than Books, that Gutenburg invented printing and movable type when it was really Buddhist monks cranking out predecessors to the Jikji.

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The Fourth Wall



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