Some people are dead but nobody told them. The subject of the “awareness to die” is fascinating to me, and countless books and movies have told different flavors of this multifaceted problem. One trait they have in common, however, is the fact that until the subject understands he’s dead, the situation is sort of stalled.

The excellent “A pure formality” movie by Giuseppe Tornatore, starring Gérard Dépardieu and Roman Polanski tells such a story – death is not truly accomplished until awareness of such is achieved.

I think we have a similar situation in publishing – the heroic resistance to electronic publishing has all bt killed the publishing industry, who – pretending they knew what was best for their consumers – carefully avoided to embrace the digital revolution, blindly following news reporting and music along a similar path of irrelevance leading to self destruction.

Now they are starting to write articles about “How paper and electronic books can coexist” (italian only, sorry) which is in itself an interesting topic except that the people that are invited to contribute are ALL coming from the paper side. Like journalists before them, culture types do not accept that the paradigm to determine what is a good cultural product has shifted; mind you, I am not saying it has IMPROVED – I would not know that – but merely stating a fact.

So who’s fit to talk about culture? But only anointed culture experts, of course, ignoring the simple fact that if an outside event has altered the frame of reference of a certain situation, such an event cannot be discussed WITHIN the old frame of reference. It would be like discussing 3D in a 2D world – how could you possibly do that ? (read the fantastic “Flatland” by Edwin Abbott for a superb narration of exactly such an attempt).

So what’s the problem, I hear you say? These are zombies, George Romero would advise us to load our shotguns and dispose of them.

Well, I subscribe to a slightly more complex view, the one held out by Tornatore. The problem with unaware deaths is that, until awareness is achieved, the new life cannot start.


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