Why is it that if you say you don’t enjoy using an e-reader, or that you aren’t going to get one till the technology is mature, you get reported as “loathing” it?
The little Time article itself is fairly accurate about what I’ve said about e-reading, but the title of the series, “Famous Writers Who Loathe E-Books,” reflects or caters to a silly idea: that not being interested in using a particular technology is the same as hating and despising it.
With us or against us! Cyberfreak or Luddite!
Five-year-olds who don’t enjoy green peas and aren’t interested in eating them are likely to announce (unless they’ve acquired some manners) that they HATE peas — Ugh! Yecchh! Bleaghh! The way people talk, you’d think that faced with e-technology we’re all five-year-olds. Either I just loooove my Kindle to death, or Ugh! Yecchh! Bleaghh!
Why is it that, when I accused Google of unethical behavior in digitalizing copyrighted books without permission, I was (and still am) repeatedly described as hating Google and an enemy of the Internet?
When I accuse our government of unethical behavior in keeping men against whom no charge has been preferred and who are given no chance to prove their innocence in a terrible prison in Guantánamo, there are indeed some Americans who would describe me as hating our government and being an enemy of the United States. But there are more who are capable of making the enormously important distinction between enmity towards an institution, and disapproval of some of its policies or acts.
These are the ones who actually believe in freedom of speech.
Evidently some people believe they’re defending the freedom of the Internet by opposing any criticism of anything done on the Internet (or anything Google does). They’re thinking the way the extreme right thinks: There are two sides. We are on the Good side. Our people are Good. Everything they do is Good. To criticize them is Evil! There must be no free speech about free speech! It’s dangerous!
In its defensiveness and immaturity, this is five-year-old thinking: If Daddy doesn’t like something I like to do, it means he doesn’t love me. If Mommy says I’m doing something wrong or stupid, it means she thinks I’m bad and stupid and she loathes and hates me and so I loathe and hate her too and I will now fall down screaming in the supermarket aisle and let the world know how mean she is.
Why are people so defensive about electronic technology? Do they really think the Luddite hordes are coming after them with burning torches? Why is mere discrimination taken as negative criticism? Love me, love my iPad? Oh, come on. Grow up!
City of the Plain, by Ursula K. Le Guin
A poem from The Wild Girls, by Ursula K. Le Guin
Play the Podcast of “City of the Plain.”
PM Press Outspoken Authors #06, May 1, 2011