Tragedy of the Commons
Fri Aug 24 14:36:37 CDT 2001
> Better yet, let's go totally anti-logo and boycott books. They really are
> part of Roman enslavement of the mind, right? I thought that was part of the
> project? Or, extending it to the activist perspective, perhaps the
> defacement of books is simply part of lashing out at the corporate pigs in
> publishing houses, right?
For a while when I was a first-year, I obtained the nickname "Contrary Boy." I think that it may be time that I pass that nickname on to another, and I think that I may have found the candidate.
But for the substance of your argument. The Roman enslavement of the mind had to do with the creation of "Truth" in the notion of Veritas. It defined as false everything that was not immediately apparent. This true/false is one of the defining moments in western metaphysics. It overturned an earlier greek notion of Aletheia that was much more fluid. There was no "truth" in the common sense of the word. The world concealed and revealed; the world was seen as fluid and changing rather than static and true. Books, as far as I can tell, have nothing intrinsically related to that. It just depends on what the book is espousing. One could argue that defacing the book is an effort to reveal alterity within the text, which may very well be true. However, this deconstructionist move is itself extraordinarily problematic. All commentary is betrayal. In "exposing" alterity, you are also "inventing" it. I'd rather not read a book in which part of it is invented by others in the community. Thats just an esthetic thing for me. I think that many would agree, and they just mark in books because they're lazy. Nothing necessarily bad about laziness either, but lets not kid ourselves.
And the second argument (about resistance to the capitalist publishers) is a particularly bad argument. Marking in books doesn't hurt the publishers, it only hurts the readers. And then, the library - upon finding ripped up and written on books - will go and buy another copy from that publishing company. Your argument goes the wrong way.
I likely took this post entirely too seriously. In that case, the joke is on me. But I'm ok with that.
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