What I Read This Week - 13th May

In defense of autobiography, the critic as memoirist, outgrowing oneself. This week it's all about me. - Filed Away: On Pinterest And Dreams (Cheri Lucas at The Equals Record)

In a way, I was doing something. And yet the more I pinned, the more I felt further disconnected from doing itself—a step in the opposite direction from the image, the idea, the what-if I had pinned.

- My day doing everything the internet told me to (Benji Lanyado at the Guardian)

I have spent £40 on a book about sex, some Lego and a magazine subscription. I have four new friends on Facebook, have "Benji likes Inside Volvo UK" at the top of my timeline, and I am worrying about whether my brother-in-law likes me. I have also needlessly pestered a senior editor at work, who now thinks I can't spell.

- Outgrowing Oneself (Rob Horning at The New Inquiry)

Anyway, I was prompted to these bathetic thoughts this morning by reading Philip Mirowski’s Machine Dreams while having breakfast at a diner counter near a radio blasting a classic rock station. “Dance the Night Away” by Van Halen was playing, and next came “Mysterious Ways” by U2. The transition was seamless and unremarkable, only I can remember when I was in high school, when listening to U2 and not Van Halen was of intense social importance, when the difference was glaring, and it dictated how one wanted to perceived and whom one felt comfortable hanging around with. It seems incredibly silly now, but growing up in semi-rural, semi-suburban Upper Bucks County, the discontinuity between Van Halen and U2 created a space in which to exist, and a hope that one might turn out to be something other than what the suburban environment seemed to promise. You could listen to something like the Beastie Boys and think your friends were the only other people who got it — them and maybe some idealized people out there who also would have been your friends if you weren’t so isolated. The special few who would redeem the future.

- In Defense of Autobiography (Jennifer Miller at the Millions)

I spent years feeling like a failure before I’d even started writing, all because I was terrified of producing a cliché. If only I could have written a World War II epic with a chose your own adventure twist.

- The Critic as Memoirist (Mark O'Connell at Slate)

As an academic critic, I’m obliged to take issue (dryly, objectively) with the claim, but I do agree that one thing academic criticism does tend to kill is the academic critic—at least as a palpable personal presence in his or her own writing.

- Social Media: You Can Log Off But You Can’t Opt Out (PJ Rey at Cyborgology)

Is it really possible to opt out of social media? I conclude that social media is a non-optional system that shapes and is shaped by non-users.