iPhone vs. Moleskine, Da Vinci Code vs. Umberto Eco

Two conversations.

  • The Future: Star Trek or Middle Ages?

We were noting all those people cueing up in front of the stores to get their hands on an iPhone.

– “Idiotic,” I judged, “an irrelevant piece of junk”.

– “Sacrilege!” DH countered – he’s not wanting to get an iPhone, he was just defending what it stands for.

Personally, I have been letting go, slowly at first, now faster and faster, of the idea of the future that most of us grew up with: that sci-fi sleek, sanitized, technologically facilitated world.

Now I am envisioning something more primitive and – in my eyes – wholesome: something a darker green, where growing food is the priority. No replicators a la Star Trek, but hands digging in the dirt, pulling out a carrot. No communicators, but a friendly chat with the neighbors. No transporting out to another continent, but a walk around the commons.

It all sounds very “medieval” to my husband, who is a real technology devotee and will not let go of that old dream. I don’t mind the word “medieval”: as a historian with an interest in those times, I have a more realistic – i.e., less dark – idea of the Middle Ages.

– “Well,” I concluded, “it is going to play itself out, one way or the other, in our lifetimes. We’ll revisit this talk in a couple of decades and see who was right.”

– “Okay,” he joked, “record it in that medieval contraption of yours, “your journal.”

What will we be consulting, in let’s say 30 or 40 years? The moleskine, or this blog?

  • Potboiler or highbrow?

Later in the evening I was reporting my progress on The Potboiler (working title of my adventure novel). Deep into my narration of medieval manuscripts, Greek myths, aniconic Bronze Age worship of the Mother Goddess, the metaphysics of time (*)… DH interrupted me:

– “That doesn’t sound like the Da Vinci Code!”

– “I found I just can’t write something like that. I think it will be more like The Name of the Rose,” I stated.

– “But I want those millions!” DH exclaimed.

– “The Name of the Rose made millions,” I could reassure him. “And they made a movie of it too. Don’t worry, we’ll still get by.”

(*) I hope that’s not a spoiler!

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