Monday, March 6, 2017

George Orwell's "1984" a best-seller, Snapchat worth billions—any relation? Discuss.

Workshop of Ralph H. Bauer, inventor of the first video game (Smithsonian Institution)



     Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, went public Thursday. By day’s end, its share price jumped 44 percent, making the company worth $34 billion, about equal to General Mills, makers of Cheerios.
     The offering interested me because I use Snapchat, by necessity. Since it is, I suspect, unfamiliar to many readers, I ought to explain it.
     Snapchat is a photo sharing and messaging app. Like life itself, Snapchat is fleeting. The recipient has a set number of seconds — say 10 — to look at the photo being sent. Then it vanishes, irretrievably.
     This has obvious utility if you are, say, sending naked pictures of yourself. Which let me rush to mention is not why I use it. Snapchat also allows messages to be written across the photo sent, and add a variety of comic trappings. If you want to send a photo of yourself as a dog, with floppy ears, snout and lolling tongue, Snapchat will do that.
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7 comments:

  1. I've never used Snapchat, but I'd say it's been around long enough that it can't be written off as a fleeting fad.

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  2. The irony is built into Snapchat. It is engineered to disappear, like it's messages. Very perceptive of you.

    My Space, Xanga, Digg and countless others preceding Snapchat were once highly valued properties. Today Snapchat is simple and easy to use, but isn't really generating money. At some point it will have to be monetized at any cost and, like it's predecessors, will lose the simplicity and ease of use that makes it successful - then it's irony will be engaged.

    I've been reading Trump oriented stories from the weekend this morning and I realized that, as a malignant narcissist, he is willing to destroy America to allow himself to look in the mirror and see the perfect creature he believes he is. Connecting him to 1984 struck me as spot on. This man is willing to undermine the judiciary and freedom of the press to maintain his delusions. He spent the weekend blaming the Deep State, liberals, Obama, and his own staff for undermining his ascendance to Messiah. The horror.

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  3. The thing I never understood about "1984" is, how could the totalitarian government control what was in the back issues of newspapers? You can rewrite a news article all you want, but once it's printed, it's printed. Unless the government forbade citizens from keeping old newspapers--something that I don't recall being mentioned in the book.

    Ironically, in today's digital society, controlling a news archive is much easier--something Orwell couldn't have foreseen.

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  4. The thing I never understood about "1984" is, how could the totalitarian government control what was in the back issues of newspapers? You can rewrite a news article all you want, but once it's printed, it's printed. Unless the government forbade citizens from keeping old newspapers--something that I don't recall being mentioned in the book.

    Ironically, in today's digital society, controlling a news archive is much easier--something Orwell couldn't have foreseen.

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  5. A good description of something I decline to take an interest in, and a nicely pointed moral. On the former point, I take my cue from Sherlock Holmes, about whom Dr. Watson observed, in "The Sign of Four," that his ignorance was as remarkable as his knowledge, being unfamiliar with the Copernican Theory and asking who Carlisle might be. As the great consulting detective himself put it, "...a man's brain is like an empty attic and only a fool takes in all the lumber that he comes across, so that the knowledge which might be of use to him is crowded out."

    I do recall being greatly impressed by "Brave New World," when in high school, and Huxley's other works are on a list of books I would like to revisit to see if they still work. So many books, so little time.

    Tom Evans

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    Replies
    1. The eternal question: do you read new books, which might be good, or old books that have been proven good?

      john

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  6. I recently came across a little commentary that further complicates that eternal question. "For all books are divisible into two classes: the books of the hour and the books of all time. Mark the distinction. It is not one of quality only. It is not merely the bad book that does not last, and the good one that does. It is a distinction of species. There are good books for the hour and good ones for all time; bad books for the hour and bad ones for all time." John Ruskin

    And then there is the imperishable comment by a contemporary observer about how some books work on young minds. "There are two novels that can change a bookish 14-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves Orcs." Paul Krugman

    Tom Evans

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