My Favorite iPad Hater Nonsense so far

From commenter zyodei at Cory Doctorow’s blog at BoingBoing (h/t @jasonpontin’s twitter feed):

Of course, I will still never buy one, because as has been pointed out by its design I still see it as something that is designed primarily for consuming information, not creating it. And who needs that?

Uhhh…those of us who create not “information,” but works of communication, craft, art, whatever.

I mean, I don’t know about anyone else, but I hope that folks actually, you know, read what I write, not to mention see or hear the other works I create.  Consuming that stuff, again, not information but composed, intended works, is something for which the iPad, among other devices, is just a dandy platform.  More of this please.

Not to mention that there are lots of hours in the day when I — I, and not a seraph, not an avenging messenger of the Tech Lords — find myself consuming other folks’ good work, and don’t need or necessarily want to haul my lapbeast.

I’m not saying that there is any affirmative necessity that should send all tech-happy folks into Father Jobs’ arms.  There are lots of reasons not to buy another thing.  I haven’t got mine yet, and didn’t get swept up on a wave of gadget-lust when I briefly toyed with one in an Apple store yesterday.  And choosing to save one’s pennies because it doesn’t perform the functions you require, as it appears it doesn’t for zyodei,, is sane, perfectly reasonable.

It’s just the “who needs that” tag that harshed my mellow.  No writer that I’ve ever known lays down words for a game of solitaire. Even as we — or at least I — write, the words seem to me to be leaning toward a reader.  Who needs “consumers” — an ugly, misleading name?  I do; every last line I write does.

Image:  Antoine Wiertz, “The Reader of Novels,” 1853

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8 Comments on “My Favorite iPad Hater Nonsense so far”

  1. Carl Zimmer Says:

    But what if you read something–oh, I don’t know, maybe a column by David Brooks–and want to cut and paste it into one of your trademarked rants? What if a reader of yours wants to share your work with someone else, to spread the Levenson love? The Ipad gets in your way. That’s Doctorow’s point. It leaves readers passive consumers.

    • Tom Says:

      I don’t think so, really. Speaking as someone w. all of fifteen minutes with the device, and using my iphone as a stand-in, I can use Safari, grab what I want, toggle to a new page and rock and roll.

      Admittedly, I’m most likely going to be a luddite of an iPad user, in that I will, assuming I go through w. my intention of buying one, get either the keyboard dock or a bluetooth standalone keyboard. I plan on using this as my note-taking, go to meeting, vacation-w.-a-little-blogging/head to the local Peet’s and read and rant a bit machine. So I will be deviating from the pure iPad experience as imaged in the Cupertino Platonic retreat.

      But I don’t think it will be a completely push rather than pull device from a creative point of view. The real question is whether its form factor and weight hit the sweet spot so that it is with me when a more general-use computer would not for enough of the time.

      Like all good three-handed professors, I’ll just say, “only time will tell.”

  2. Amos Zeeberg Says:

    Good point, Tom. I guess Doctorow’s point [note the spelling, btw] would only make sense if you assume that the iPad is going to be replacing content-creation systems, like word processors, sketchpads, recording booths, etc. And I haven’y really seen any evidence that that’s the case.

    As your choice of painting implies, one of the literary class’s favorite objects is a “consume”-only device, and it’s managed to co-exist with creation media pretty well.

  3. Sharl Says:

    So is what you are saying something to the effect that, in seeking to dissociate creative PRODUCTION from one’s CONSUMPTION of the creative products of others, one might as well try to create a one-sided coin? [Or perhaps, one set of one-sided coins for pay-outs, and another set of one-sided coins for payments received?]

  4. aimai Says:

    the main thing is that the painting accompanying the text is fantastic.


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