Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Peep Diaries by Hal Niedzviecki

Pop culture has become peep culture: reality TV, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, YouTube and more. "We have entered the age of peep culture, a tell-all, show-all, know-all phenomenon that is dramatically altering notions of privacy, individuality, and even humanity. In the Age of Peep, core values and rights we once took for granted are rapidly being renegotiated, often without our even noticing." (From the back cover.)

Hal Niedzviecki writes with humour and insight about technology's effect on us all. How do we achieve the sense of connection and community that we seek in peep culture without being consumed, reduced and debased? Humans are social animals and so it isn't surprising that we can so easily find ourselves addicted to watching or reading strangers' lives. Niedzviecki's conclusion is that there is a benefit in not knowing. "So much of the mystery of life, so much of its inherent, unquantifiable worth, comes from that which remains a mystery. It's not knowing that makes us fall in love, that allows us to appreciate beauty, that permits us to revel in the moment despite the indisputable fact that one day we will be sick and that one day we will be dead."

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