Thursday, November 23, 2006

The End of 'Black Flag':
Recent comments on the 'Anarkismo' site (see 'Links' on the left) seem to say that the British anarchist journal 'Black Flag' may cease publication after 35 years of spreading the anarchist word. The ins and outs of this possibility are discussed in the post and comments, and I'm sure that other comments will be added.
One thing I have to object to, however, is the implication that the era of a "print journal" is over. This isn't directly stated, but a casual reader could take this meaning from the article. The net is great, but it lacks artistry. No e-site will ever equal the aesthetic appeal of a well produced book, or even a journal such as the Match.

Even more importantly, journals are for browsing in the home, in the bar or in the restaurant. They are "cosier" and "slower". I'd hate to see a bar where the only people reading were those reading a screen. When you're done you leave the paper on the table for the next person. Print can reach out in public places in ways that the internet never will. The screen tends to suck the attention from the viewer in a way that print does not. A reader can easily glance up at the surroundings and return to the text in a much more comfortable way than a captive of the computer can. The book and journal are not such hard taskmasters.

At the same time the printed word holds the reader's attention in a way that the internet cannot. Things that are read on the printed page are much more likely to both "stick" and to provoke thought than things viewed on a screen- where the temptation is always there to treat the text in the same way as we treat television programs. Fuzz,blur, skip, jump,etc.. Unless, of course, you're plotting retribution against the author of the word on the screen. A bad habit that I occasionally indulge in- mostly in reference to those with the all the morality of a bad strain of typhoid fever. That temptation isn't present in reading the printed word, or at least the act is far harder to carry out.
Anyways, check out the post on Anarkismo and join it if you like.

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