Critic Lee Siegel has a new book out later in January called Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob. From the publisher’s description:
ruthless challenge to the conventional wisdom about the most
consequential cultural development of our time: the Internet.
course the Internet is not one thing or another; if anything, its
boosters claim, the Web is everything at once. It’s become not only our
primary medium for communication and information but also the place we
go to shop, to play, to debate, to find love. Lee Siegel argues that
our ever-deepening immersion in life online doesn’t just reshape
the ordinary rhythms of our days; it also reshapes our minds and
culture, in ways with which we haven’t yet reckoned. The web and its
cultural correlatives and by-products—such as the dominance of reality
television and the rise of the “bourgeois bohemian”—have turned privacy
into performance, play into commerce, and confused “self-expression”
with art. And even as technology gurus ply their trade using the
language of freedom and democracy, we cede more and more control of our
freedom and individuality to the needs of the machine—that confluence
of business and technology whose boundaries now stretch to encompass
almost all human activity.
Siegel’s argument isn’t a Luddite intervention against the Internet
itself but rather a bracing appeal for us to contend with how it is transforming us all. Dazzlingly erudite, full of startlingly original insights, and buoyed by sharp wit, Against the Machine will force you to see our culture—for better and worse—in an entirely new way.