Friday, January 30, 2009

Walter Benjamin Snack

Written in 1935,  by Walter  Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," contains the following paragraph notable for its relevance to the current state of the Internet and for its coherence:

"For centuries a small number of writers were confronted by many thousands of readers.  This changed toward the end of the last century.  With the increasing extension of the press, which kept placing new political, religious, scientific, professional, and local organs before the readers, an increasing number of readers became writers --at first, occasional ones.  It began with the daily press opening to its readers space for "letters to the editor."  And today there is hardly a gainfully employed European who could not, in principle, find an opportunity to publish somewhere or other comments on his work, grievances, documentary reports, or that sort of thing.  Thus, the distinction between author and public is about to lose its basic character.  The difference becomes merely functional; it may vary from case to case.  At any moment the reader is ready to turn into a writer.  As expert, which he had to become willy-nilly in an extremely specialized work process, even if only in some minor respect, the reader gains access to authorship." 

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