Book 15. Player One by Douglas Coupland. Another book I remember very little about. I remember reading it and liking it, but I couldn't tell you anything about what happened in it.
Yet I love all of these highlighted passages below, really glad to have discovered them again. Some of them seem to be from little footnotes such as he injected into Generation X. Maybe it's Coupland's dreadful blessing to be better at these fragments than at whole stories. Mind you, I'd kill for that gift. David Shields quotes someone or other in Reality Hunger on this:
"What we realized was that the novel was a machine to get to twelve crucial speeches in the book about romance and art and music and list-making and masculine distance and the masculine drive for art and the masculine difficulty with intimacy.” This is the case for most novels: you have to read seven hundred pages to get the handful of insights that were the reason the book was written, and the apparatus of the novel is there as a huge, elaborate, overbuilt stage set."
Maybe Coupland can just do away with the stage set. Maybe we'll then discover he's actually writing some sort of broadform encyclopedia.
Anyway, all this stuff is golden:
"Take my word for it, a day in which nothing bad happens is a miracle — it’s a day in which all the things that could have gone wrong failed to go wrong. A dull day is a triumph of the human spirit; boredom is a luxury unprecedented in the history of our species.”
"Life is more like a book than a painting. Life makes you wait. Life forces everything into a sequence, time-coded by emotions and memories."
"And if dreams are so special, why is it that no person or company has ever tried to make a drug that leads to better dreaming? Sleeping pills, yes, but dreaming pills? Have scientists even asked that question?"
"Much of what normal people think of as art is simply the establishment of repetitive structures that become interesting when they are broken in certain ways."
"Yet seeing one’s life as a story seems like nostalgic residue from an era when energy was cheap and the notion of the super-special, ultra-important individual with blogs and Google hits and a killer résumé was a conceit the planet was still able to materially support. In the New Normal, we need to strip ourselves of notions of individual importance. Something new is arising that has neither interest in nor pity for souls trapped in twentieth-century solipsism. Nonlinear stories? Multiple endings? No loading times? It’s called life on earth. Life need not be a story, but it does need to be an adventure."
"Airport-Induced Identity Dysphoria describes the extent to which modern travel strips the traveller of just enough sense of identity so as to create a need to purchase stickers and gift knick-knacks that bolster their sense of slightly eroded personhood: flags of the world, family crests, school and university merchandise."
"Bell’s Law of Telephony - No matter what technology is used, your monthly phone bill magically remains about the same."
"Dark-Age High Tech - Technical sophistication is relative. In the eleventh century, people who made steps leading up to their hovel doors were probably mocked as being high tech early adopters."
"Goalpost Aura - The ability of places and objects, such as football goal-posts or artwork in a museum, to possess an indescribable aura. An application of the more well-known process of sacralization – wherein places such as churches and mosques are understandably transformed through human emotion, thought, and belief into sacred places – to seemingly random elements of our lives."
"Punning Syndrome - The medicalization of what was previously considered merely an annoying verbal tic displayed by a limited number of people. Punning is an almost inevitable side effect of connectopathies within the brain’s verbal nodes, somewhat akin to Tourette syndrome. This leads to a larger discussion about the concept of spectrum behaviour: sliding scales of behaviour connected by clinical appearance and underlying causation, ranging from mild clinical deficits to severe disorder. Psychiatric disorders understood along spectrums include autism, paranoia, obsessive compulsion, anxiety, and conditions that result from congenital malformations, brain damage, and aging. There are many more, however, and each category itself can be broken down into more specific spectrums."