Well, I’ll get an iPad. Eventually. Not this year, but maybe next, when the hard drive gets bigger and the price drops and I start doing all my work in coffee shops. If nothing else, it seems to be the e-reader that might tip me into e-reader territory, not that I’ve been waiting for one. But, you know, I like to keep up. And if the iPad and other tablet devices throw a lifeline to newspapers, then I’ll feel obligated.
You have to be careful, though. I sometimes call my iPod my musical id, because when I started buying music online, I flocked to the shameful hit singles I’d been turning up on the radio all these years, but only when I was alone in the car. Songs I was too cool to like, or songs that were the one decent track made by Disappointing Artist X. I wouldn’t buy DAX’s album, but 99 cents seemed to be the right price point to buy the one or two Madonna songs I enjoy (“Don’t Tell Me,” “Ray of Light”), or Lou Gramm’s “Midnight Blue.” You have earbuds in all the time anyway, so it’s not like anyone knows you’re a secret Eminem fan.
And then digital music became the only music to buy, you hook the iPod to your stereo now, and so I have an iPod cluttered with crap, and more than 1,000 songs to sort into “earbuds only” playlists, lest one pop up at a dinner party and embarrass me. (I downloaded Chakakas’ “Jungle Fever” after watching “Boogie Nights,” OK? And I regret it! I always fast-forward past it!)
I don’t want the same thing to happen with my e-reader. Yesterday I asked Laura Lippman what’s better for her, as an author — ink on paper or pixels on a screen — and she mentioned the obvious use for Kindles, et al:
I use it primarily for travel and I stock it with B-reads, things I don’t care about owning in hardcover format.
In other words, pretty much the way I used my iPod at first.
I also asked Hank Stuever about this, and he got his own blog post out of it, and you should go read that, too.
It’s the newspaper model I’ll be watching most closely, of course. These are my people, they provide my health insurance, and I have a stake in seeing them survive. Late in Hank’s post, he quotes a lovely paragraph from another essay about newspapers, about the authentic experience of actually holding and touching your authentic experiences. I keep coming back to the 3A Tiffany’s ad, running daily in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, upper right-hand corner of the page since forever, and how much I look forward to seeing it every day. The other day it was the engagement-ring ad, four big Tiffany solitaires tumbled in a row. I always take a minute and appreciate it. I will never own a Tiffany’s solitaire. I don’t particularly want one. But it’s a beautiful photo, and I allow myself a few seconds of mild envy, the way if you were walking past Tiffany’s in New York, you might stop to look in the windows, like Audrey Hepburn.
Over to Facebook. Upper-right-hand corner: If you are a 52-year-old driver from Michigan, your car insurance rates can be as low as $14.98 a month. Click to learn more. Earlier today, it told me 52-year-old women could get a free pair of Uggs for participation. Click to learn more. I’ve asked this question a thousand times, and no one can give me a good answer: If all the college-educated eyeballs are online, if the smartest and the wealthiest people are looking at computer screens all day and most of the night, why are the ads the equivalent of the free Amish fireplace?
Oh, and as to the name of the iPad: Are all you people children? When did Beavis and Butthead join the focus group? Do you snicker when you hear “helicopter pad” or “note pad” or “pad Thai?” Maybe because I was always a tampon girl, and grew up in the era when menstrual pads were called “sanitary napkins,” one of the great euphemisms of its day, I don’t immediately associate the word “pad” with menstruation. Grow up.
I also thought Barry’s speech last night was pretty damn good. I liked how he called out the party of No. Fuck you, Sammy Alito, you smug piece of shit. And great job on that GOP response — find the XY equivalent of Martha Coakley, flank him with a black woman and an Asian man, and have them nod and clap on cue. Way to bring it, you soulless toads. I’m sticking with Barry.
OK, then: Yesterday’s work spilled over into today, so I’d best hop to it.