Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading. Currently can only be used by a single user (myself), but I plan to extend it to support multiple users eventually.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

There is a lonely need at the heart of this book, the need for all this ephemeral shit to mean something, for the generations nurtured by the internet to have collected something more than transient commodities and opinions about them, more than posts and tweets and days of recycling things we’ve consumed and perhaps leveraged into monetized brands. But Cline has rejected the bigger ideas that usually absorb all our mortal flailing into an arc of greater redemptive significance. Religion is out. Unsurprisingly, he doesn’t so much as flirt with Marxism, even in a rootless Hegelian form of thesis, antithesis and synthesis inexorably churning human society forward. Capitalism is portrayed as a disease unless it’s in the hands of the right people, which is indistinguishable from the view of capitalism espoused by the wrong people.

At times, you can almost sense a muffled scream trying to escape the page, the unthinkable recognition that memorizing movies and videogame speed-runs and every beat of a standup routine contains only the memory space required to store it—that it builds to nothing, achieves nothing, signifies nothing more than the story of somebody else. That you can watch Raiders of the Lost Ark 100 times, and on the 101st, it won’t reveal a greater truth or build a better you. That the passivity of life via filmstrip exacts no price because it confers no prize. That, maybe, the cold message of becoming a pop-culture savant is realizing that you’ve dedicated your life to the craft of memorizing how it happened to someone else—or as someone else happened to imagine it. That the Comic Book Guy was right to lament, “Oh, I’ve wasted my life.”

Maybe that’s the seductive—and to those who embrace it—profound appeal of a story like Ready Player One, built on the bones of hundreds of others: that somehow we can construct a scavenger hunt of narrative human significance from everything we’ve already consumed, something every bit as spiritual and whole as a more rigorous study and embrace of the world as it is. Maybe there is a mechanism by which we can collect enough skill and armament and enchantment to ineffably cohere as flesh and spirit, something more sublime than meat networked and spasming with electricity.

Cline just hasn’t watched the movie that explains that part yet, and it’s not his fault. Nobody has.

Ready Player One Finds The Bleak Limits Of Nostalgia (1) missing author 3 weeks, 6 days ago

There is a lonely need at the heart of this book, the need for all this ephemeral shit to mean something, for the generations nurtured by the internet to have collected something more than transient commodities and opinions about them, more than posts and tweets and days of recycling things we’ve consumed and perhaps leveraged into monetized brands. But Cline has rejected the bigger ideas that usually absorb all our mortal flailing into an arc of greater redemptive significance. Religion is out. Unsurprisingly, he doesn’t so much as flirt with Marxism, even in a rootless Hegelian form of thesis, antithesis and synthesis inexorably churning human society forward. Capitalism is portrayed as a disease unless it’s in the hands of the right people, which is indistinguishable from the view of capitalism espoused by the wrong people.

At times, you can almost sense a muffled scream trying to escape the page, the unthinkable recognition that memorizing movies and videogame speed-runs and every beat of a standup routine contains only the memory space required to store it—that it builds to nothing, achieves nothing, signifies nothing more than the story of somebody else. That you can watch Raiders of the Lost Ark 100 times, and on the 101st, it won’t reveal a greater truth or build a better you. That the passivity of life via filmstrip exacts no price because it confers no prize. That, maybe, the cold message of becoming a pop-culture savant is realizing that you’ve dedicated your life to the craft of memorizing how it happened to someone else—or as someone else happened to imagine it. That the Comic Book Guy was right to lament, “Oh, I’ve wasted my life.”

Maybe that’s the seductive—and to those who embrace it—profound appeal of a story like Ready Player One, built on the bones of hundreds of others: that somehow we can construct a scavenger hunt of narrative human significance from everything we’ve already consumed, something every bit as spiritual and whole as a more rigorous study and embrace of the world as it is. Maybe there is a mechanism by which we can collect enough skill and armament and enchantment to ineffably cohere as flesh and spirit, something more sublime than meat networked and spasming with electricity.

Cline just hasn’t watched the movie that explains that part yet, and it’s not his fault. Nobody has.

—p.1 Ready Player One Finds The Bleak Limits Of Nostalgia (1) missing author 3 weeks, 6 days ago

[...] When the day comes that the internet commentariat cleaves into opposing sides for war of attrition over this book and film, it will in part be a war premised on misunderstanding. On one side will stand people rightfully flabbergasted at the adulation for a book that, by any reading of the mechanics of literary fiction, basically heaves.

On the other side will stand people who need to see their experience of media—their texts and enthusiasms—validated as a greater myth, and to see themselves as a part of it. [...]

Even then, Cline himself admits that this is not enough. If there is an ultimate message to this book—if there is something that might doom the movie to little more than an automated nostalgia ride—it is this: Go the fuck outside. But Cline cannot square how the endless layers of preceding intertextual mimicry prepare one for that. He doesn’t even attempt an explanation so much as surrender to the inevitability of someday exiting the inner world. All this was prologue, and all of it was important, somehow, but eventually we all must emerge into the daylight.

Ready Player One Finds The Bleak Limits Of Nostalgia (1) missing author 3 weeks, 6 days ago

[...] When the day comes that the internet commentariat cleaves into opposing sides for war of attrition over this book and film, it will in part be a war premised on misunderstanding. On one side will stand people rightfully flabbergasted at the adulation for a book that, by any reading of the mechanics of literary fiction, basically heaves.

On the other side will stand people who need to see their experience of media—their texts and enthusiasms—validated as a greater myth, and to see themselves as a part of it. [...]

Even then, Cline himself admits that this is not enough. If there is an ultimate message to this book—if there is something that might doom the movie to little more than an automated nostalgia ride—it is this: Go the fuck outside. But Cline cannot square how the endless layers of preceding intertextual mimicry prepare one for that. He doesn’t even attempt an explanation so much as surrender to the inevitability of someday exiting the inner world. All this was prologue, and all of it was important, somehow, but eventually we all must emerge into the daylight.

—p.1 Ready Player One Finds The Bleak Limits Of Nostalgia (1) missing author 3 weeks, 6 days ago

The roots of insurrection grow and feed on the same old crippling capitalism. In order to defeat the faceless evil corporation bent on charging people money and profaning the OASIS with ads, Parzival essentially becomes a series of ads, while he and his pals all become brands. The war of liberation against top-down commodity is self-commodity.

Ready Player One Finds The Bleak Limits Of Nostalgia (1) missing author 3 weeks, 6 days ago

The roots of insurrection grow and feed on the same old crippling capitalism. In order to defeat the faceless evil corporation bent on charging people money and profaning the OASIS with ads, Parzival essentially becomes a series of ads, while he and his pals all become brands. The war of liberation against top-down commodity is self-commodity.

—p.1 Ready Player One Finds The Bleak Limits Of Nostalgia (1) missing author 3 weeks, 6 days ago

That might seem like much for an adventure romp like Ready Player One, an entertaining bit of spun sugar that is so amiably unchallenging that it never even makes demands of itself. But direct any back at it, and you come up with nothing, an empty politics, characters as flat as Pong, an epic of nostalgia for things people bought that never wonders why it loves what it loves. As a body of work, it’s a hollowed-out and varnished cadaver, held together by tissue only skin-deep; a Humpty-Dumpty man ready to shatter when pierced by a single question.

Ready Player One Finds The Bleak Limits Of Nostalgia (1) missing author 3 weeks, 6 days ago

That might seem like much for an adventure romp like Ready Player One, an entertaining bit of spun sugar that is so amiably unchallenging that it never even makes demands of itself. But direct any back at it, and you come up with nothing, an empty politics, characters as flat as Pong, an epic of nostalgia for things people bought that never wonders why it loves what it loves. As a body of work, it’s a hollowed-out and varnished cadaver, held together by tissue only skin-deep; a Humpty-Dumpty man ready to shatter when pierced by a single question.

—p.1 Ready Player One Finds The Bleak Limits Of Nostalgia (1) missing author 3 weeks, 6 days ago

[...] These were actual living humans—I keep coming back to this—not only adopting but insisting upon the priority of a monstrous legal construct designed for the express purpose of annihilating all concerns but its own profit.

I feel like I am not doing a great job of capturing, in words, the dread that this produces in me. Across the room, one of my dogs is licking its asshole with intense fervor; it is making sounds like the stirring of a pot of macaroni and cheese. Also, large bees are thumping loudly off the glass of the window with arrhythmic regularity. Both of these are very distracting; I am having a hard time doing the thing that makes me money. If I were a corporation, the spectrum of possible responses to these distractions would include killing my dog and encasing my home in soundproofed concrete; that spectrum would be ordered by the degree to which each option maximized my blogging efficiency and by nothing else; what mediated the preferability of these extreme responses would not be concerns that they were cruel or might diminish the simple human pleasure of having nice, big windows to look through on a sunny day. Alas, I am a human—I cannot be a corporation, and a corporation cannot be me—so the dog gets to live. For now.

But the point is: You are not the corporation. You are the human. It is okay for the corporation to lose a small portion of what it has in terrifying overabundance (money, time, efficiency) in order to preserve what a human has that cannot ever be replaced (dignity, humanity, conscience, life). It is okay for you to prioritize your affinity with your fellow humans over your subservience to the corporation, and to imagine and broker outcomes based on this ordering of things. It is okay for the corporation to lose. It will return to its work of churning the living world into dead sand presently.

The Corporation Does Not Always Have To Win (1) missing author 2 months, 3 weeks ago

[...] These were actual living humans—I keep coming back to this—not only adopting but insisting upon the priority of a monstrous legal construct designed for the express purpose of annihilating all concerns but its own profit.

I feel like I am not doing a great job of capturing, in words, the dread that this produces in me. Across the room, one of my dogs is licking its asshole with intense fervor; it is making sounds like the stirring of a pot of macaroni and cheese. Also, large bees are thumping loudly off the glass of the window with arrhythmic regularity. Both of these are very distracting; I am having a hard time doing the thing that makes me money. If I were a corporation, the spectrum of possible responses to these distractions would include killing my dog and encasing my home in soundproofed concrete; that spectrum would be ordered by the degree to which each option maximized my blogging efficiency and by nothing else; what mediated the preferability of these extreme responses would not be concerns that they were cruel or might diminish the simple human pleasure of having nice, big windows to look through on a sunny day. Alas, I am a human—I cannot be a corporation, and a corporation cannot be me—so the dog gets to live. For now.

But the point is: You are not the corporation. You are the human. It is okay for the corporation to lose a small portion of what it has in terrifying overabundance (money, time, efficiency) in order to preserve what a human has that cannot ever be replaced (dignity, humanity, conscience, life). It is okay for you to prioritize your affinity with your fellow humans over your subservience to the corporation, and to imagine and broker outcomes based on this ordering of things. It is okay for the corporation to lose. It will return to its work of churning the living world into dead sand presently.

—p.1 The Corporation Does Not Always Have To Win (1) missing author 2 months, 3 weeks ago