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E-books, MBA’s, And Type A Personalities

May 31, 2013

I know these three topics have very little to do with each other, but I was in the shower thinking over comic books which led me to books and which also led my thoughts into e-books, MBA’s, and type A personalities. Alone these things don’t matter for much, however, as is the current trend they all seem to be blending together. Let’s tackle e-books first. For those of you who have e-book readers and enjoy them I apologize. However, the person that came up with the idea of an electronic book should be slowly drowned. Specifically because they try to make people like me who prefer physical editions of books seem like technological Luddites screaming at a world we barely understand.

I was thinking back on the most insulting commercial for one I remember from a couple years ago for the Kindle. Its marketing went something like this: “Oh, you mean you prefer to carry around multiple books? Ahahaha…you poor fossil. With my Kindle I can carry around hundreds of books and have plenty of reading material. Ah-ha-ha-ha. You snob, get with the times.” Whoever made this advertisement probably has never even read a book before and if they had it’s probably marketing for dummies while they got their education from shit-stain university.

The problem I have is that books are singular experiences. They’re meant to be read one at a time and to have an adventure in your mind. E-book readers and e-books themselves cheapen this experience. They try to offer quantity while trying everything in their power to distract you from the objective of reading a book. No, I don’t want my e-mail sent to me while I’m reading. And no, I don’t need a Netflix program on my book either. Fuck off!

All of the distractions are designed to take away from a solitary experience. We have no experiences that are our own anymore. Believe me, I could make just the same sort of argument against multiplayer in video games. The stories get interwoven with aspects from someone else. You can always be connected. Connection is key, blah blah blah. I blame this pattern on MBA types and type A personalities. The reason you can’t get solitary experience anymore unless you drive to the woods is because the MBA types have decided to take us from a product driven society (which means quality of the product you’re buying) to a ‘service’ based society.

Your mileage may vary on the definition of ‘service’ as well, because sometimes it’s great and sometimes they’re just waving their dick in your face as you (wrongly) think that they care about the product they’re selling you. I’d just as soon as call it ‘experience’ based. Mostly because the products they’re intending to sell you are about the experience. They just love the experience. The experience of experiencing their experience to give you and experience while you experience your own experience. Really. I could go on all day.

You know what an experience is? A one and done sort of thing. Now you see it and in the next moment you’re gone. That’s what they’re telling you. That’s why e-book readers are evil and why video game companies shovel shit down your gullet. They don’t want you keeping their product. No, no, no, they want you to experience it and then move on to other things. So while you’re enjoying your multiplayer experience just remember that it’ll be gone. And your e-book? Gone. As soon as the battery dies or you drop it in your toilet or anything else. Gone. Like a light.

“But, you, with your fire and your rage I can easily re-download all of my e-books!” Yes, you can, but you need to buy new hardware to download them to. Or to pay a nominal fee to transfer the license to your e-book reader. Or…[insert technology wank here]. You could argue that my books are temporary as well and you’d be right. Although the fact that I actually own a physical product that is mine to do with as I please is a great luxury. No EULA’s, no company can take it away. It’s mine. I own it. And if I think it sucks I can always give it away.

I do blame the type A personality for this horrendous experience because they tend to be the MBA types who want to ‘live in the now’ and to ‘sell as much product as possible’ with ‘expending as few resources as possible’. They’re also the loudest who cry for this sort of ADD-based culture that’s defined by how much you can do on one device without ever really selling you a product that you an own and then finding ever-intrusive ways to make their buck.

It’s The Brand New Tomorrow because all of our stuff is broken within a week. I’m amazed that so many people have bought into the idea that you don’t need a physical product despite the limitations of said non-physical product. Maybe it’s my age which isn’t really that old because I can still remember a time when things like actually owning a physical object mattered, but I find the idea not owning a product offensive. It means giving up control of how you wish to enjoy your time.

To me, owning an object makes the thing more real–it means that it can never be taken and can never be abused or altered, that what you bought is what you get. This means that whether it’s a book, a game, or a movie, that it’s the completed product and that makes quality matter more than how much you can do with it. And I’m not against multipurpose technology, but I am really disgusted with how it’s being implemented to keep us in a certain sort of ADD-cocoon where the next thing matters because the thing before was just an invented experience meant to get you to part ways with your money. This sort of ‘experience’ culture has also created a real ugly side where publishers want more control of what you own and want to tell you how you can use it.

So, without sounding preachy or anything: is this the sort of society you want? Yeah, these little trivial things are very trivial, but I think these sorts of issues indicative of where we are as a whole culture and what we value. Do we really value our privacy? Do we really own what we think we own? Do we really care about intrusive entities in our life? How much are we willing to sacrifice for convenience? These are serious topics and while I used entertainment to convey the ideas, I really could apply these questions to any thing.

Ahem…rant thing over.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Marleen permalink
    May 31, 2013 10:36 am

    Thank you for that. Thank you.

  2. May 31, 2013 12:11 pm

    Me, too. Thank you that is. I am that old and I can remember when we did own things. Things like our cars, our homes, our books, our clothes. What’s next. Are we going to rent our food, our air and our water? There are MBA type As out there who think that’s the next best business! So you are right on!

    • May 31, 2013 12:47 pm

      I’m sure if they thought they could do it that that is what would happen. If 3d printers ever get so advanced they can ‘print’ food then you can bet that that might be a possibility.

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