Last night, I went to see Sherman Alexie with a couple of (new) friends. (Many thanks to pussinboots
, btw, for pushing me into going. Sän was saying how I'm more inclined to go out and do things with people, and I was all, "yeah, I say
that, but for instance, there's this Sherman Alexie thing I really want to go to, but the big inertia part of me is all, "yeah, but I could stay at home and write..." And Sän said, "hey, I want to go! And I could bring these cool new people I just met!"
Alexie was awesome, if a little too old for his own good. He was ranting about the Kindle, and even though in the end, he said he was more anti-Amazon than anti-digital, he spent most the talk glorifying the physical book and the joys of impractical old stuff, like giant stereo speakers and standing in line for hours to get a new music album. And while I appreciate that joy can be found in such things (and indeed, I stood in line for two hours to get tickets to The Phantom Menace, just because I happened to be at the mall when I saw the line, and thought, "hey, this is history, I should join in") I've also got better things to do with my time and space. And while yes, it's nice being able to judge a person and bond with them based on the book you can see them reading, especially if it's obscure and geeky...I hate it when people do that to me. People come up and ask, "what are you reading?" when they can very clearly see. They just want to talk. Does he really think nosy folks will stop asking just because they genuinely don't know what you're reading?
And yes, he talked about sex a lot. At question time, a fourteen-year-old boy asked him why he chose to start a particular chapter of his sorta-biography with masturbation, which resulted in much praise for the boy and his mother. (It was at this point that he told everyone to call their parents right away to thank them for having sex. The relationship between a man and woman in front of us then became clear because after he said something to her, she patted him on the shoulder and said, "It was worth it.")
Anyway, he is pro teaching kids that masturbation is good until you're emotionally mature enough for sex.
[EDIT, copyed from the comments to clarify my point:
I appreciate the value--both practical and personal--of old stuff, it was just that with that particular thing, his emotions overrode the effectiveness of his argument. If I were any younger, I probably wouldn't be able to relate to a lot of the things he got excited about, and he'd come across as being out of touch. As it is, he accused members of the iPod generation of stuff I've never known anyone to do (like only listen to the first 45 seconds of songs. Who does that? Maybe I'm the one who's out of touch.)
But I'm also a bit of a Vulcan, and it's hard for emotion to sway me. I loved watching him get all passionate about the past, but it didn't make me want to hate the Kindle. If he did want me to hate the Kindle, then he would have been better off focusing on the anti-Amazon argument, an attitude I definitely share.]