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Minutes of the Lead Pencil Club: Pulling the Plug on the Electronic Revolution

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Home » Books » Fiction & Literature » Literary Criticsm » European » English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh

Minutes of the Lead Pencil Club

Pulling the Plug on the Electronic Revolution

By Henderson, Bill Henderson (Edited by)

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Format: Paperback, 235 pages
Published In: United States, 11 June 1997
Have you just junked your recent, instantly obsolete, computer? Are you thinking of buying your first computer? Do you find that your business and personal life have been invaded by a bewildering array of electronics - from voice and E-mail, to faxes and TVs with hundreds of channels to the wildly hyped Internet and World Wide Web? Do you suffer from info-overload? Do you sometimes think we have lost our souls in a constant quest for speed, entertainment, and convenience? The Minutes of the Lead Pencil Club is a dynamic record of an on-going meeting of minds from as far away as Tasmania, India, and Austria and as close to home as California and New York. This collection will reveal to you what electronic madness has wrought in our lives and society. Through letters, essays, news clips, poems, cartoons, and testimonials, the members of the Lead Pencil Club suggests how you can restore mindfulness, sanity and simplicity to your life and the lives of your children.


Publisher-editor Henderson named his whimsically conceived Lead Pencil Club after the trade of Thoreau's father, a pencil maker. The club quickly won a following for its outspoken antitechnology stance. The members, mostly in a spirit of desperate fun, rebel against much modern gadgetry designed for speed and comfort, but which, they say, is actually depersonalizing human life: voice mail, e-mail, the proliferation of worthless TV, word processors, computer "education"‘and, most especially, anything to do with the Internet. The book is a collection of articles, columns, snippets, quotes, Lead Pencil member letters, even a smattering of cartoons. Some of it is, expectably, smug and self-satisfied, but much, particularly by the likes of Neil Postman, Clifford Stoll, David Gelernter and Mark Slouka, is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. There is indeed a quasi-religious mania about some of the claims for the Web, and it's true that this goes ill with what is, after all, an enormous marketing bonanza for software and hardware manufacturers (was Windows 95 really the Second Coming?). For technology skeptics, it's good to have so much informed dissent gathered between covers. (May)

Pushcart publisher Henderson founded the Lead Pencil Club in 1993 to "yank the plug on the international electronics industry that is fattening its purse while brain-draining this civilization." He has collected here the short essays, letters, news clips, poems, testimonials, and even a few cartoons by such contributors as Neil Postman, Clifford Stoll, Russell Baker, Wendell Berry, Doris Grumbach, John Updike, Alvin Toffler, and Ted Koppel. There is fun and humor here, as in the clip from the New York Times Magazine that proposes the Video Baby for consumers who say they value the family but don't have time to start one. But there is also true concern about harm from the modern barrage of hype and advertising. While some contributors won't throw away their computers and others won't buy them in the first place, all agree that real life is better than virtual. The collection is both practical and philosophical. Parents and teachers might want to take it to the next PTA discussion on computer labs for the school, and librarians might do well to read it before delving into conference proceedings. Of interest to public and academic libraries.‘Nancy Shires, East Carolina Univ., Greenville, N.C.

EAN: 9780916366209
ISBN: 0916366200
Publisher: Pushcart Press
Dimensions: 17.6 x 17.78 x 1.83 centimetres (0.34 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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