Saturday, August 4, 2012

Everyone's A Zinester Today!

When I first started researching zines in the 1990s, one of the questions I would ask zine publishers was "What would happen if everyone did a zine in the future?"  I got some thoughtful answers along with some amusing ones ("Xerox stocks would rise" and "There would be no more forests"). 

I thought about that question recently and realized that with the ease of epublishing, even something as simple as a post on Facebook, pretty much everyone does do a zine now.  In the past, one's desire to communicate had to be pretty strong to put up with the hassles of photocopying, stapling, and mailing a zine.  Now, computer technology makes it so easy to publish that almost everyone does so, though they may not be thinking of it as such.  How else can we explain someone sharing with us what they had for lunch on Twitter, or telling us on Facebook that Amishmade pepperoni bread isn't quite as good as Italianmade pepperoni bread, or complaining on a blog that the Dylan Dog movie would have been better if they had actually written a script for it?  Those are all things that we might have shared with friends in the past, but it's unlikely that we would have had such strong feelings about them that we would have published them in print.  Today, no one seems to hold back much before clicking the post or publish button.

Some people might complain that we live in a world of too much information, but if you have a twinge of Freudian thought in you or if you love freedom of speech, then all this babble can only be regarded as fairly healthy for both individuals and society.  Talking is therapeutic, after all.  And, in a democracy, the best way to figure out the right things to do is to argue about them.  There certainly is little repression out there anymore.  And, despite the news splash mass shootings and other violent crimes make, we actually live in a less violent world, according to Steven Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined.  Maybe people are working out their emotions in a healthier way online.  As a result, on the Internet these days, we all seem to bob around a bit in everyone's consciousness, and that's probably a good thing.

On the other hand, with so many people talking at once, is anyone listening?

Maybe those who really want to have what they say stand out might end up turning to the zine again.

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