From the quarterly which I believe to be the most profound political journal in the country.
Dear Dissent Facebook Group Members,
While this may come as a surprise to some of our readers, small quarterly magazines are not traditionally on the vanguard of communication technology. We move slowly, when the zeitgeist demands speed; we fight for the long form, while the culture calls for short and plentiful.
In the summer of 1994, Dissent co-editor Michael Walzer wrote (http://dissentmagazine.org/article/pdfs/FaxMachines.pdf) about Dissent’s latest technological acquisition: the fax machine. “The machines are fun in the beginning, toys for grownups, though it is only our kids who will ever master them. And it probably makes some people feel important to be besieged with messages the way a city besieged by soldiers is suddenly the key to military victory or defeat. But the fun will become routine and the routine more and more exhausting. And the importance will fade once everyone is similarly besieged. Imagine the men and women of the future with mobile phones and hand-sized fax machines in their pockets and a wrist watch p.c. for their e-mail: never a moment alone. When that happens, I’m calling for a General Strike.”
But what are Dissentniks, both grownups and kids, to do now, fifteen years and an internet revolution later? To whom would we address our strikes—to the international committee of pocket faxes and wrist-watch computers? The political demands of our times do not allow us to strike against technology; instead, we labor to continue doing what Dissent has always done best, while tentatively engaging in the inescapable new.
With that in mind, we ask those who are members of the Dissent Facebook “group” to join our Facebook “page” (click here to join: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dissent-Magazine/54789869630?v=wall). The “page” will better allow us to share the writing at Dissent, and information about Dissent’s non-virtual events, throughout Facebook’s vast network. Facebook won’t allow us to merge the group and page together, so we’re asking you to make the switch on your own.
Invite your friends to join the page. Share links to the pieces you find essential. But when you need a moment alone—when the routine does become exhausting—log off for a little while, and read in the old, slow way. And if you’re looking for a companion for those offline moments, the print edition of Dissent (http://dissentmagazine.org/display.php?id=subscribe) will be waiting there for you.