My much-delayed copy of Snarkmarket’s New Liberal Arts came in the post yesterday! And it occasions a post I should have written some time ago, but which, like many of my thoughts these days, emerged as a tweet and fell promptly into dormancy.
The New Liberal Arts project, if you’ll recall, began earlier this year as a conversation about what a liberal arts education for the 21st century might look like, and ended up as a book, which now reads like a curriculum for a crazy, marvellous university. The bottom line is, all 200 copies of the book sold within 8 hours, and it’s now available freely as a PDF in the Snarkmarket store, which you should download and disseminate widely. And read. My entry on Translation is in there, a humble weed of an idea amidst a whole garden of inspiring entries, ranging from Journalism (But Not As You Know It!) to Attention Economics (Modules: Multitasking, Stillness), to Iteration (Working in Spirals), to Play (Seriously).
A cunning Snarkmarketing ploy: in affecting the semblance of universal digital accessibility (PDFs for everyone!), Snarkmarket has actually shored up the glorious, bourgeois exclusivity of the Book (200 copies for the monied, internet-savvy classes), the beautiful, irreplaceable paperness of it —
because, you see, it is such a very beautiful book. And it contains a paper-only secret on page 9. Alienated readers unite! Endless struggle! Seize the beautiful books from the clutches of the undeserving internet bourgeoisie! All copies belong to the Party! (Only please let me keep my copy, it’s so very lovely).