Monday, February 28, 2022

The Decline and Fall of the Gutenberg Galaxy

It’s hard to imagine that a totally cosmopolitan society turned upside down overnight. Kiev and Kharkiv both have subways that are now filled with inhabitants, deprived of food, water and yes bathrooms. Supply chains are irreparably damaged and the leisure activities of an advanced industrial society from therapy, to yoga and workouts in gyms—not to speak of afternoon trysts are suddenly brought to a halt. Sure Dresden and Hiroshima were destroyed in World War II, but modernity was supposed to have homogenized and purified the nature of the species itself. Identity would replace sectarian and nationalist divisions. Maybe back in the days of Brezhnev, when troops interruped Prague Spring,  but who would have predicted Russia’s stark incursion into a neighbor, particularly one sharing many similarities in language and customs. So much for the illusion that technology creates a brother or sisterhood? And so much for the illusion that brother won’t fire upon brother since many Ukrainians have Russian blood and vice versa. The current war is unprecedented and if nothing else points to the end of Marshall McLuhan’s "global village" or Gutenberg Galaxy. Antediluvian grudges and tribal rivalries, like the ones that stoked the Bosnian War, are what autocrats like Putin exploit in their narcissistic striving for another kind of globalism, i.e. ultimate power. Faust has made his deal with the devil all over again. On the other hand where is Superman when you need him? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the Man of Steel, suddenly appeared, blocking every advance by Russian troops into the Ukraine and stopping Chinese fighter pilots as they run threatening sorties over Taiwan. As it stands, nobody lifts a finger so why lend a hand? Symbolic gestures are just that, design.

read "Pornosophy: Sexcession" by Francis Levy, HuffPost

and listen to "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" by Stevie Wonder

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