It's strange seeing certified people of letters Susan Orlean and Kurt Andersen hooked up to webcams chatting away about literary culture in the Internet Age. But our larger question is whether anyone has 74 minutes to spend watching.
Orlean — New Yorker writer, Adaptation model, and avid Twitterer — and Andersen — co-founder of Spy, public radio host and professional smart guy on smart things — have embraced the digital culture as much or more than any of their peers. It's no surprise that they'd say yes when given the chance to talk on Bloggingheads about how Twitter, e-readers and other newfangled trends have changed the culture that gave birth to their personal brands.
It's interesting to hear them talk, sort of like getting an invite to a dinner party. But running a website for a living does not afford the luxury of sitting still for an hour-plus — or 53 minutes if you use the "1.4x" function — and listening to everything they have to say. I'm very curious to see if anyone has that sort of time anymore.
So, a contest: I've picked four quotes pretty much at random from the interview. The first person to email me the correct corresponding timestamps and who said each will win one of my favorite — though sadly obsolete — objects: the New Yorker Desk Diary for 2010. (It's only February, right?) Aside from the daily calendar, the front section has all sorts of handy information — airline numbers, Manhattan hotel and restaurant listings, street maps, and area codes — that in a pre-Google and iPhone age would have gotten a sophisticated Manhattanite through many of their day-to-day queries. While I'm thrilled whenever my new edition arrives courtesy the New Yorker publicity department — Thank you! — my desire to tap into that old mystique and actually use it is quickly abandoned. This may be a metaphor.
- A: "I end up chewing it off in little bits."
- B: "I think I never looked back when I started working on a computer."
- C: "We were grandfathered in in a way."
- D: "As a writer, I don't know how you feel, though I suspect I do."