The culture of the copy by James Panero - The New Criterion
www ccc stashed this in The End of the Internet
One way to situate the Internet is to see it as inaugurating the next stage of copy culture—the way we duplicate, spread, and store information—and to compare it to the print era we are leaving behind. New technologies in their early development often mimic the obsolete systems they are replacing, and the Internet has been no different. Terms like “ebook” and “online publishing” offer up approximations of print technology while revealing little of the new technology’s intrinsic nature.
Just as the written word changed the spoken word and the printed word changed the written word, so too will the digital word change the printed word, supplementing but not replacing the earlier forms of information technology. Speaking and writing both survived the print revolution, and print will survive the Internet revolution. The difference is that the Internet, with its ability to duplicate and transmit information to an infinite number of destinations, will increasingly influence the culture of the copy.
What the world is today, good and bad, it owes to Gutenberg,” wrote Mark Twain. “Everything can be traced to this source, but we are bound to bring him homage, . . . for the bad that his colossal invention has brought about is overshadowed a thousand times by the good with which mankind has been favored.”