In The New Yorker‘s anniversary issue, Adam Gopnik discusses and quotes from Hamlet’s BlackBerry. In “How the Internet Gets Inside Us” (kudos to whoever crafted that headline) he notes that there’s been a spate of recent books trying to make sense of life with modern technology. Though he read about twenty of them, the essay focuses on just a handful.
Several of my favorite writers on this subject – Clay Shirky, Nicholas Carr, Andy Clark and Ann Blair – are also discussed. Gopnik organizes the authors into three categories: the Never-Betters (digital enthusiasts), the Better-Nevers (who wish these devices had never arrived) and the Ever-Wasers (who believe transformations like this have happened all through history).
I was surprised to see Hamlet’s BlackBerry in the Better-Nevers column, as were others who have read the book. “I disagree with Gopnik’s placement of Hamlet’s BlackBerry in the Better-Never,” writes MaryAnn McKibben Dana of The Blue Room blog. “I think he is an Ever-Waser.”
In fact, Hamlet’s BlackBerry is an extended argument for the Ever-Waser perspective.
Still, it was good to see the book talked about alongside others that I admire, and quoted at length, in this wide-ranging piece. You can read the full version here.