Magic and Loss
In this examination of the internet as cultural phenomenon, Heffernan does for the internet what Marshall McLuhan did for media and Chuck Klosterman did for villains. If you've ever been extraordinarily depressed after reading The Shallows or the latest inflammatory think piece in The Atlantic, take heart. Heffernan puts the internet in a broader, enduring cultural context, examining its obvious benefits (magic) and less obvious downsides (loss), and if that sounds boring I'm describing it all wrong. I could not stop myself from reading this aloud to my husband. Make sure to get your hands on the book book, not the kindle version: the hardcover has one of the season's best covers. A must read for fans of Chuck Klosterman. Publication date June 7 2016.
Virginia Heffernan “melds the personal with the increasingly universal in a highly informative analysis of what the Internet is—and can be. A thoroughly engrossing examination of the Internet’s past, present, and future” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) from one of the best living writers of English prose.
This book makes a bold claim: The Internet is among mankind’s great masterpieces—a massive work of art. As an idea, it rivals monotheism. But its cultural potential and its societal impact often elude us. In this deep and thoughtful book, Virginia Heffernan reveals the logic and aesthetics behind the Internet, just as Susan Sontag did for photography and Marshall McLuhan did for television.
Life online, in the highly visual, social, portable, and global incarnation rewards certain virtues. The new medium favors speed, accuracy, wit, prolificacy, and versatility, and its form and functions are changing how we perceive, experience, and understand the world. In “sumptuous writing, saturated with observations that are simultaneously personal, cultural, and strikingly original” (The New Republic), Heffernan presents “a revealing look at how the Internet continues to reshape our lives emotionally, visually, and culturally” (The Smithsonian Magazine). “Magic and Loss is an illuminating guide to the Internet…it is impossible to come away from this book without sharing some of Heffernan’s awe for this brave new world” (The Wall Street Journal).