Although off the subject of painting, I must comment on Lee Siegel’s new book Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob (Spiegel & Grau, $22.95), which seems like it might be a good (if annoying) read for bloggers. Lee Siegel argues that our ever-deepening immersion in life online doesn’t just reshape the ordinary rhythms of our days; it also reshapes our minds and culture, in ways with which we haven’t yet reckoned. In Time Out New York book reviewer Sarah Goodyear outlines Siegel’s argument. “Siegel suggests that our unexamined dependence on the Web is commodifying and degrading nearly every aspect of human experience, glorifying page views over creativity and click-throughs over serious inquiry. Not only that: He contends that it is destroying our social fabric. ‘It empowers solitude,’ Siegel says. ‘It makes it easier to be alone.’ He writes that ‘the laptopization of the coffeehouse…has dispelled…the concrete, undeniable, immutable fact of our being in the world.'”
On the other hand, one could argue that solitary artists, who spend countless hours alone in the studio, use the web to create a rich social fabric where little previously existed. Which brings me to the point of this rambling, off-subject post: Check out the first draft of Two Coats of Paint’s new blogroll/reading list over to the right. All the bloggers listed, who have contributed untold hours to provide compelling arts commentary that supplements and enriches the dwindling arts coverage in the more traditional media, are the online colleagues who keep me company while I’m painting.