Friday, 25 September 2009

The Death Of Books

Unless this piece of "journalism" (I recommend you actually read it before continuing) is a premeditated attempt at provocation it is a sad sign of the times where everything is disposable, and anything seen as "last year's" not worth keeping.

Only someone with no real interest in knowledge and/or the art of the written word cannot understand the importance of keeping hold of the works that have moved one somehow, and cannot imagine the need to revisit at least a passage from a once enjoyed and still loved text.

While there is a sad group buying "show" books which are colour coordinated (usually "complete works" of a famous author), but they are luckily in minority. The most of the "plebs" choose not to buy/keep books at all and/or fill their
Billy shelves with CDs, DVDs, and memorabilia from cheap package holidays. They are at least honest in what they do.

And as for the "power of the Internet": it still takes much less time, not to mention the lovely tactile feeling involved, to grab a book off the shelf, flick quickly through the pages to get to that ages ago marked in red passage that you need or just want to relive. Library: this may not even be open when you need it, let alone at arm's length!

Google search and the computer screen are less than perfect substitutes, even if handheld e-book readers do have their place in making it possible to read in "unusual" places, and if back-lit in the dark, too!

But then, sadly, not many seem to understand these finer points about books and their place even in the 21st century.

Sad, but true.

PS
This is the comment I sent in response to the BBC Magazine article linked to in the first sentence. At the time of posting I don't know if it is going to be published, and if yes if it's going to be edited.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Ich bin ein Schwule!

Everyone who knows me is now probably at least mildly surprised. For their benefit, the title of this post has nothing to do with my sexuality, and everything to do with JFK in Berlin, and much more importantly the upcoming Gay Pride parade in Belgrade. If you can make it, which I sadly can't, it's due on Sunday, 20 September 2009.

Even more sadly, it seems that, again, if you do take part, you'd be wise to prepare for some serious rioting by all the idiots who think XIX century (or even earlier) is the time to be, and look up to. These groups and individuals, who one could pity were they not dangerous, and dangerously keen on trouble, include, but are not limited to: Serbian Orthodox Church, officially, several political parties, whose names I don't care to publicise, various even more horrible associations whose main raison d'etre seems to be dragging Serbia as far away into Dark Ages as is possible or even just imaginable. No, I won't be linking to any of them either. They do not deserve to be endorsed in any way. And after all, they have been vocal enough in the past few weeks so it'd be a miracle if you haven't noticed them.

Finally, and tragically, I deeply believe that until a way is found to silence and marginalise such tendencies in the Serbian society, the country will never be able to raise itself enough, and up to the task of becoming a serious and responsible part of the modern world. For those who haven't noticed, having been busy trying to spoil everything for everyone, the world and the time never stop moving, and are always moving forwards. Janus may have a face that looks ever backwards, but he is first and foremost a god of the beginnings, of the future.

And to finish off, let me repeat, with pride: Ich bin ein Schwule!