All Politics is Horse-racing

I’ll confess. I bought my first e-book over the weekend.

See, it was like this. Saturday night Lisa was out singing her big, wonderful heart out in the second of three holiday concerts. I stayed home, since some friends and I were going to take it in on Sunday before going to a post-concert dinner and Muppet movie viewing together with Lisa. So there I was sitting on the sofa (with the cat sleeping on my lap) catching up on a week’s worth of snail mail, writing odds-and-ends and worry and bullshit in my journal, plotting out my 12-mile running route for Sunday morning, and watching TiVo’ed “BBC World News” and “Charlie Rose” episodes.

I go back-and-forth between liking and loathing Charlie’s show.

Shoulder Jeff #1: “He’s the voice of the American, white, male, moneyed, center-right Washington/NYC-based establishment. While his guests have a variety of opinions, they helped talk you into supporting the 2003 invasion of Iraq . . . or, at least, not opposing it.”

Shoulder Jeff #2: “True, true. But his guests also talk about all of those things that interest you. And since you don’t read as much as non-diabetes/triathlon stuff as you used to, he’s bringing those opinion-makers opinions to you. Besides, you only seem to write in your journal when you’ve been reading the New York Times, watching Charlie, or traveling. Clearly you need him and his guests for inspiration. Plus, you still have Terri Gross’s daily NPR show/podcast/tumblr Fresh Air for balance. Anyway, it’s good background noise while Lisa is away.”

Shoulder Jeff #1: “Okay, well at least be careful. Especially of his guests with ties.”

All true, little shoulder Jeffs.

The last episode I watched had three 40-to-60-something guys (all wearing neckties . . . except maybe John Meacham) sitting around his table talking about the GOP presidential clown parade candidates. It was not a great interview, but it made me want to read their little book: Playbook 2012: The Right Fights Back. It’s one of those “insiders traveling with the candidates tell you about the presidential sausage being made” works that I always like reading in Newsweek after the election.

Except this wasn’t a real book at all. It was one of those “electronic” books. Did I really want to buy a bunch of bits to read on my iPod?

Shoulder Jeff #1: “Why don’t you start, Jeff’s reactionary psyche voice?”

Shoulder Jeff #2: “Oh goody! Okay, I have a list. You won’t actually own anything. What if the forces enabling DRM decide one day that you aren’t licensed to read it anymore? And you won’t be able to lend it out after you’ve read it. And when you’re done where will it go? There’s no bookshelf-able “thing.” If your hard drive crashes, it will be gone. (Well, okay, not gone gone . . . gone-until-you-redownload it gone.) And *gasp* it will be hard to read page after page on a smaller-than-a-notecard sized thing. Plus you’re going to encourage the publishers not to sell real books anymore.”

Shoulder Jeff #1: “WTF, man? It’s not like the words are going to be different. And do you really want to keep this 73-page gem around for your never-to-exist grandchildren to pick up randomly off the bookshelf. ‘Oh look, that Michelle Bachman person sounded cray cray forty years ago.’ Riiiight. Or maybe you’re ‘going to need it for part of a major research project’ in the future? Yeah, okay. Listen. You’ve been buying virtual iTunes music for the last seven years, *and* you still buy CDs when you come across amazing whole albums. Plus it’s just $2.99.”

So I bought the e-book.

(That last paragraph was actually supposed to be the majority of this dispatch, but I got carried away. Sorry.)

This entry was posted in Book Notes, General, Hoarding, This is who we are. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to All Politics is Horse-racing

  1. Steve Eddins says:

    Regarding “hard to read” … I just finished reading Dune, Dune Messiah, and Children of Dune on my own smaller-than-a-notecard device, otherwise known as an iPhone. I found it to be surprisingly easy and enjoyable. Now I’m finding it difficult to get into the household copy of Game of Thrones because I’m reluctant to hold and carry around that big tome.

    Geri says the word from the publishing industry is that the rest of the world has been reading books on their phones for a while now. They are not using Kindle or Kindle-size devices.

  2. Jeff Mather says:

    Steve: You’re right about it being easy enough to read. The typeface that iBooks uses (Palatino) is very readable. I’m actually a rather slow reader, but the fact that I’m swiping so often to change pages has me wondering whether I’m actually reading faster compared to a paperback. That might just be in my head.

    Now we’ll see if I’m more or less prone to distraction while reading. :^)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>