Today I did something unusual… I bought a book! Well the book in itself is not unusual but what was different today was the fact that the book was old fashioned analogue – you know… re-used, old dead trees.
When it was launched I was anti-Kindle, in November 2007 I even wrote:
For me it doesn’t matter how fancy schmancy the details are – and Kindle has some impressive details. The dead tree with ink stains still remains my clear favorite.
But eventually I succumbed and bought one by the end of 2010. Almost immediately my reading and purchasing patterns changed drastically – this became very obvious when the book Själens medium: Skrift och subjekt i Nordeuropa omkring 1500 by Götselius was not available in digital format… and did not buy it!
Most of the time this is not a problem as most of my reading is in English. But this has an interesting side-effect: publishers in small language groups seem to think that staying out of the Kindle market is a smart way of maintaining control over their market. But the problem is that this market is diminishing. Given a choice – the Kindle user is almost forced into the a larger language group.
Sure, I was forced to buy a book today but that’s still 15 less than I would have during the same period.
In 1786 King Gustav III founded the Swedish Academy to preserve the purity, strength, and sublimity of the Swedish language” (Svenska Språkets renhet, styrka och höghet). The Swedish Academy is most famous for decideding who will be the laureate for the Nobel Prize in Literature, awarded in memory of the donor Alfred Nobel. A task it has been carrying out since 1901.
The motto of the Academy is “Talent and Taste” (Snille och Smak) and apparently neither talent nor taste have anything to do with any form of courage.
In connection with the Rushdie affair when the Iranian mullahs pronounced the fatwa against him. The Swedish academy decided not to make a statement in favor of Rushdie and denouncing the death threat he now faced. The academy naturally could comfortably rely on old principles that they should not make political statements. Two of the members of the academy left in protest (Kerstin Ekman and Lars Gyllensten).
So now when the Italian author Roberto Saviano is revieving death threats for writing a book about the Camorra and several notables (amongst others: Michail Gorbatjov, Desmond Tutu, Orhan Pamuk, Dario Fo, Günter Grass & Salman Rushdie) have shown their support, the academy when asked formally to show support replies (my translation)
It is extremely sad that a writer in an European country is in mortal danger because of something he published but it seems to me [Horace Engdahl the academy secretary] to be a police errand and not a question of protecting principles of freedom of expression.
The people of talent and taste are hiding behind their non-political stance to avoid taking formal moral stances. Everything a body like the Swedish Academy does is political. Every time they make a choice in litterature concerning the most author most deserving of the Nobel prize – it is a political choice.
Therefore the decision not to stand up for freedom of expression or, at the very least, to condem death threats is moral cowardice.
Confirmation about the people behind the blogs comes via Media Culpa who is attending Internetdagarna in Stockholm. A report from the World Internet Institute shows that among 16-18 year-olds it is almost three times as common for girls to blog than it is for boys and in the 26-30 year age group it is even more than three times as common for women to blog.
This confirms the views of Media Culpa who has studied the state of Swedish blogging over time (check out the report BlogSweden 3) that shows young women dominating the Swedish blogosphere.