Writing Wednesdays: Your computer is not the enemy

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As a dual English/Computer Science major, I found myself nodding and cheering as I read this piece about book reviews and programming. I’ve long been frustrated by the seeming ease with which many humanities people proclaim their digital illiteracy and cast themselves as Luddites. In many ways, it’s a social frustration, but it also speaks to a sort of knee-jerk intellectual small-mindedness that’s maddeningly counterproductive. As reviewer Juliet Waters writes:

Yes, programming is challenging, frustrating and often tedious. But it offers satisfactions that are not unlike those of writing. The elegant loops of logic, the attention to detail, the mission of getting the maximum amount of impact from the fewest possible lines, the feeling of making something engaging from a few wispy, abstract ideas — these challenges were familiar to me as a critic.

Of course, I also agree with Waters that the answer to digital hegemony is to learn more about how technology works, not retreat. These are tools. Don’t just use them — learn them, create with them, and enjoy their intellectual challenges.

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