Here Sven comes (literally) out of the woodwork with the claim for fetish.
Is his stance that the book, being vegetal (i.e., made of wood), assures
that we will continue to inhabit a natural world? (Could a more riverine
reader lament the book’s having taken us from papyrus? Who will speak for
the clay of lost tablets?) The obverse claim is equally likely, i.e., that
the book in its apparent naturalness has blinded us to vine and spiderweb;
and has been made by the great men Sven admires from from Plato to Thoreau
to a woman he may and I do admire, Donna Haraway.

But let’s not mistake this for macrame consciousness. What really underlies
this argument, like most reactionary polemics, is a profound distrust of
the human community and the future. Are we to believe that, because there
are apparently no naturally occurring polymers (let us put aside the
natural origin of the copper — or the gold! — of the computer’s utility
wire), Sven’s and my mutual granddaughters will abandon the grape arbor for
the world wide web? I take the opposite view. The so called “real
pleasures of synthetic encounters” are just as likely (in a world in which
we trust our progeny) to call them more strongly to the real pleasures of
human community and the world around us. As Sven says, “the obvious needs
to be injected into this discussion.” To claim that the natural world will
necessarily be transformed beyond recognition is proxy sensationalism and
pure nonsense. It is just as likely that the natural world will be
transformed into recognition.

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