I just sit at a typewriter and curse a bit.
P. G. Wodehouse
So does Wodehouse's biographer, it seems.
Wake up, folks, storytelling is in peril! To the ramparts of fiction, tale tellers! Seriously, there can be no argument with Kirkpatrick's premise that 'civilisation needs stories as much as it needs wheels, fire and fibre optics'. Where sensible people will part company with him is in his conclusion. At the Centre for Future Storytelling, he says: 'We want to use technology to keep storytelling alive.'
Robert McCrum has a new column to fill.
Perhaps he hasn't heard about e-books, or multiple player online gaming, the slight problems that newspapers are having in print...tipping points even or YouTube? The key word in David Kirkpatrick's quote from MIT is not "storytelling", but "alive". Keeping stories alive will involve some innovations that result directly from technological advances. So why can't MIT investigate? Can't we give the new story a try?
I think we should return to this sentence of McCrum's soon, as well.
Now, if there is one thing about 21st-century culture that has never needed life support, it is our imagination and the means through which we enjoy it - books, cinema and the mass media in all their manifestations.
Robert McCrum wrote last year of blogging that:
...the democracy of the web is in danger of becoming a cacophonous nightmare. For every carefully crafted, thoughtful expression of opinion, there are a score of half-baked rants: ignorant, bilious, semi-literate and depressing.
I wonder if he has read Simon Cowell's autobiography?
Or, for something really hopeful and interesting about the consumption of storytelling, checked out the collective reading of The Golden Notebook online?
We need our literary folk to get it, just a bit - please?