New Ideas

In the 1984 movie Repo Man, the character played by Sy Richardson makes a comment: “In America, a new idea isn’t worth a pizza.” Where are the new ideas now? Ideas that informed my 20s and 30s and 40s: Ted Nelson, Steward Brand, Brenda Laurel, Steven Jay Gould, Seymour Papert, Stuart Moulthrop, Shelley Jackson, Michael Joyce, and a host of others. Where they are not is in the Ted Talks, dissolved into 5 minutes so the captains of industry can readily consume them. But consumable ideas are not worth “a pizza.” Ideas are hard, thinking about them makes you sweat, puts shivers down your spine, gives you strange dreams. Ideas are dangerous, not consumable. The place to start is in books, not the Web, although afterwards the Web can be used to debate and extend them. So I’m going to be talking about some books I’ve discovered in future posts.