MaxBarry.com
now clickable
Barcoded EarthWhat Max Reckons

Blog

Fri 24
Feb
2012

This Sentence is Already Too Long

What Max Reckons Blogs are dying. Not this blog. I mean in general. This blog’s just fine. Okay, yes, it has been a little while since the last post, but that’s just because I was busy writing. Well. Rewriting. It’s like writing, only with less visible progress. With writing, you can feel reasonably assured that what you put on the page is better than what was there before. Not always! But mostly. Rewriting, though, you can spend a good six hours on a scene, sit back, and think, “Yep… that’s worse.”

Anyway. Blogs are OUT. They’re too long. That’s the problem. No-one has the time for them. The middle is hollowing out. Everything is polarizing. We want things to be very. It doesn’t matter what. Whatever it is, only very. There’s no place for mid-length writing any more. There never was, of course. But blogs used to be short. Then Twitter. Now blogs are like One Day Cricket.*

But here we are! And it’s already been more than 140 characters. So let’s continue. This blog will summarize what I’ve been thinking about over the last few months, while I was busy making my new book not worse.

  • Sneaker riots. The first one or two were kind of shocking to me, like a thought come to life. The next few were disappointing, like repeated plot points. But now we’re at, what, the seventh Nike sneaker riot? When does it become less likely that they’re continually being surprised by this kind of thing happening and more likely that they’re deliberately engineering it? That’s just a question. I’m just wondering.

  • Syrup movie. Now in post-production. I have been shown a teaser-trailer thing and it is heartbreakingly beautiful. I’ve watched it three hundred times. I’m not joking. The only thing that sucks about the Syrup movie is I’m not allowed to tell you anything. But soon. Soon…

  • Privacy. This interests me because privacy is obviously very important for reasons nobody understands. Generally, there’s a much stronger incentive for companies and governments to want to know things about you than for you to keep your data private. That leads to an interesting place.

  • Persuasion. This is the most valuable skill in the world, right? People who are good at persuading others become rich and successful; people who are easily persuaded by others do not. But nobody really thinks about this. Very few people actually go out and learn how to be better at persuasion, or more aware of its forms. Why is that?

    Also, the US as a culture is very advanced at soft persuasion (i.e. the forms of persuasion that don’t involve threats of bodily harm). It is great at selling stuff. We have the Internet and free access to vast stores of information but we’re still buying products with the cleverest ads, and electing politicians with the most reassuring voices. I wonder what happens if a culture becomes so good at persuasion that there is no longer an incentive to produce products that are just objectively good, as opposed to well-sold.

  • Privacy + Persuasion. It’s easier to persuade people if you know more about them. And if you can persuade them, you can get more information from them. That’s an interesting dynamic, too.

  • Piracy. But this is too depressing for now so I’ll blog about it later.

That’s a lot of Ps, for some reason.

(* This analogy works because even if you don’t know cricket, you know it is stupid and anachronistic.)