...and you already know it's John Waters.
Mind you, I agree with pretty much everything he says on this subject. Perhaps ironically, given my writing of this blog, I regard the internet (and the computer revolution in general) with little besides alarm and dismay.
This very week, my own workplace (UCD library) has become even more computerized than ever. Up until now, if there was a book you couldn't find on the shelf, or one you wanted retrieved from storage, you filled out a pink docket, with an actual ink-dispensing pen. Now you have to submit an eletronic form, online.
Once upon a time-- not so long ago-- library assistants in UCD stamped the return date on a label on the book's first page. Every day the stamps had to be set to a new date. The clickety-clickety-click of the stamp hurtling down on several books in a row was pleasing to the ear. And it left a legacy; you could take a book from the shelf and scan down the label, noting the dates it had been borrowed, reconstructing its library career in your imagination. There was a subtle but definite poetry to those labels.
Now, we print a "receipt" (one smarmy academic pointed out that it couldn't be a receipt since it wasn't acknowledging receipt of anything, but let that pass). People throw them away, for the most part. The history and the poetry is gone. And that is only example of many transitions from a friendly, cumbersome process to a cold, efficient, mechanical one.
For several years, I argued against this increasing mechanization, at departmental meetings and so forth. I knew it was vain but I rather enjoyed playing Don Quixote, the hopeless and hapless romantic.
But I don't even bother anymore. Nobody cares; not staff, not students, not anybody else.
Except for John Waters, of course. There's always John Waters, eager to lend his voice to an unfashionable and counter-intuitive cause. Long may he continue to do so!