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LIVE from the NYPL: Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob, featuring Lee Siegel

April 10, 2008

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Is the Internet "the first social environment created for the asocial individual?"

That's what Lee Siegel argues in his new book, Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob. Siegel believes that the web and its cultural correlatives and by-products such as the dominance of reality television and the rise of the bourgeois bohemian have turned privacy into performance, play into commerce, and confused self-expression with art.

Even as technology gurus ply their trade using the language of freedom and democracy, we cede more and more control of our freedom and individuality to the needs of the machine that confluence of business and technology whose boundaries now stretch to encompass almost all human activity.

Join Lee Siegel, Nicholson Baker, Heidi Julavits, and Paul Holdengräber, moderator, in a blistering and wide-ranging discussion of Siegel's critique of the Internet and the social and cultural conditions from which it sprang.

About Lee Siegel

Lee Siegel is the author of the essay collections Falling Upwards and Not Remotely Controlled. Siegel has been the television critic for the New Republic, book critic for The Nation, art critic for Slate, staff writer at Harper's and Talk, contributing writer for the LA Times Book Review, associate editor of ARTnews, and associate editor of Raritan. In 2002, Siegel received the National Magazine Award for Reviews and Criticism. His new book is Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob.



About Nicholson Baker

Nicholson Baker attended the Eastman School of Music and Haverford College. He has published six previous novels and three works of nonfiction, including The Size of Thoughts and Double Fold. His new book is Human Smoke: The Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization.





About Heidi Julavits

Heidi Julavits is the author of three novels, most recently the Uses of Enchantment. Her fiction and non-fiction have appeared in Harper's, Time, and The New York Times among others. She is a founding editor of The Believer, a monthly magazine published by McSweeney's, and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.





About Paul Holdengraber

Paul Holdengräber is the Director of Public Programs now known as "LIVE from the NYPL" for The Research Libraries of The New York Public Library.