Thomas Pynchon once asked, “Is it OK to be a Luddite?” And Stephen King wrote in Time that “you can have my gun, but you can take my book when you pry my cold, dead fingers off the binding.” Birkerts described the advent of digital culture as entailing a death struggle between “technology and soul.” Okay, we get it, elders and betters, yes, duly noted, caveat lector. But many younger writers just feel differently about all this stuff. We no longer view their computers with universal suspicion, as a HAL 9000 in waiting that will turn on us one day or another. Many of us type instead of writing and browse as much as we read, especially for ephemera like news and commentary. Unlike our parents or older brothers and sisters, we were raised up on Atari and IntelliVision, we learned BASIC at school and played Frogger down at the arcade. We’re actually fond of this junk. Those of us born in the 1970s are a straddling generation who knew life Before and After the digitization of everything. We’re straddlers of centuries and millennia as well, of the end of the Cold War and the beginning of the post-September 11 era.
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