Random not (necessarily) gay weekend reading

“Taylor Swift doesn’t understand that the Internet killed scarcity.” It’s the biggest takeaway – and there are many – from this story, one that is something of a direct rebuttal to Swift’s recent op-ed in the Washington Post.

She’s priming the pump with this op-ed, reminding us all that new music is coming out soon, and Nilay Patel in Vox sees right through it. She talks about albums; he reminds us how much album sales are tanking. She talks with optimism about the industry’s future; he reminds us she’s one of the few superstars who lives by different rules and can afford to be optimistic.

Getting back to scarcity. I subscribe to a million magazines because, back in the day, they were valuable and pricey and filled with information. Today they sit in stacks on coffee tables, dining room chairs, that place where unimportant mail just lands, because all the information in them has been posted online, free to read, a day ago, at least.

My record collection, even my CD collection, continues to gather dust because everything is available on YouTube. I can’t remember the last time I bought a DVD. We live in an era where Taylor Swift has to write an op-ed in a major newspaper for us to consider purchasing a full album.

Garth Brooks thinks it’s 1993.

I have to admit: I’ve never been a big fan. The chaos around all those Ireland shows may be interesting to some, but what really grabbed me this week was the news that, after years and years of refusing to avail his music online, Garth will sell his entire catalog online later this year – but only at garthbrooks.com. As Zack O'Malley Greenburg points out at Forbes, it's "The one thing Garth Brooks is doing wrong in his comeback."

He thinks he’s Billy Joel or Elton John, and yes he was as big and/or bigger than either of them (depending on whom you ask), but Joel and John thrived during a time of, well, scarcity. Also: in 2014 Joel and John aren’t the hottest of commodities.

Garth doesn’t get, as Bob Lefsetz rightfully points out (very bottom of the post), that all those Walmart purchases last year didn’t necessarily happen because people were racing to get Garth’s CDs. They were picking up the $25 box set as an add-on during a Black Friday shopping spree. No, it’s not hard to type garthbrooks.com in your browser, but when you’re used to typing youtube.com or just opening an app to locate everything you ever need, then garthbrooks.com is an extra step. It’s not an add-on. It’s not 1993.

The greatest days are those when you read an article and think, “Everything – EVERYTHING – is a little clearer now.” Joshua Rothman posted this – “Virginia Woolf’s idea of privacy” – at The New Yorker last week and it’s just gorgeous.

Many people accept the idea that each of us has a certain resolute innerness—a kernel of selfhood that we can’t share with others. What interested Woolf was the way that we become aware of that innerness. We come to know it best, she thought, when we’re forced, at moments of exposure, to shield it against the outside world.

What follows is both a mini-review of Mrs. Dalloway, that novel Michael Cunningham brilliantly adapted/rebirthed as The Hours, and a collection of thoughts about relationships and how we gain better clarity of our inner lives from our shared experiences.

Usually, we think of social media as a forum for exhibitionism. But, inevitably, the extroverted cataloguing of everyday minutiae—meals, workouts, thoughts about politics, books, and music—reaches its own limits; it ends up emphasizing what can’t be shared.

I loved every word, every sentence of this article. Read it, then scroll back up to the top and read it again.


Is there anything you’ve read recently that we should all check out? Share, share it in the comments, please. Don't hold back. Well ... share what you can.





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