Hua Hsu, New Yorker, 15.04.06:

Consider Eco’s caution against “the alibi of photocopies”: “A student makes hundreds of pages of photocopies and takes them home, and the manual labor he exercises in doing so gives him the impression that he possesses the work. Owning the photocopies exempts the student from actually reading them. This sort of vertigo of accumulation, a neocapitalism of information, happens to many.” Many of us suffer from an accelerated version of this nowadays, as we effortlessly bookmark links or save articles to Instapaper, satisfied with our aspiration to hoard all this new information, unsure if we will ever get around to actually dealing with it.


Because there’s so much out there, I end up bookmarking articles I come across more often than actually reading them on the spot. This is a kind of reading practice, I suppose, one I’ve fallen into in order to deal with the glut of material online. But it’s basically just leaving breadcrumbs behind, trying to form a cognitive map of everything that’s out there so that, if necessary, I can circle back around and dive deeper into a particular topic given the signposts I’ve left for myself. Robert Pfaller writes about this a bit in his book Interpassivity: The Aesthetics of Delegated Enjoyment. (Grant Wythoff)