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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Too much information, too soon?

"You gals ought to keep abreast of things," said Mr. Feebles. "Why?" asked Tilly grumpily. "What good does it do you? It seems to me, from what you've been telling us, that everyone these days know everything about everyone and the split second it happens, too. What do they do with all this information? What does it get them? It just clutters up their peaceful quiet time. It seems to me, from what you've been describing, nobody has peaceful quiet time anymore. Television, bah! Radio, bah! Newspapers, magazines, bah, bah! Sounds like the world is running off half-cocked, people getting zapped with their little bits of information. Needing it every day. Zap, zap, zap. Well, deliver me. Contagious. Like hoof-and-mouth disease. I hope you're not contaminated. Don't go trekking all over our property." Polly Horvath, The Canning Season. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2003, p. 99. Mr. Feebles is a minor character. Tilly is, with her twin sister, an old woman who lives way out in the Maine woods, with a telephone that only receives calls, can't initiate them, and, of course, has no Internet access.

The book received the National Book Award for literature for young people.

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