Options Techtonic with Mark Hurst: Playlist from January 25, 2021 Options

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Options January 25, 2021: Jonathan Lethem, author, "The Arrest"

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Tonight: Jonathan Lethem, author, "The Arrest"


The Arrest, by Jonathan Lethem

Now It Can Be Told, by Jonathan Lethem (poem mentioning WFMU)


• Books mentioned by Jonathan near the end of the interview: Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam, and A Children's Bible by Lydia Millet. He also mentioned Cormac McCarthy, Emily St. John Mandel, Philip K. Dick, and J. G. Ballard.


An Australia With No Google? The Bitter Fight Behind a Drastic Threat (Jan 22, 2021): "Google threatened on Friday to make its search engine unavailable in Australia if the government approved legislation that would force tech companies to pay for journalism shared on their platforms." (Facebook made a similar threat.)

• WaPo's Hamilton Nolan (Jan 22): "A company that can credibly threaten to cut off public access to basic information if they are not allowed to continue extracting profits from the dying journalism industry like vampires is a company that needs to be severely regulated or broken up."

Google is under fire for running experiments blocking some Australian news sites from search results (BusinessInsider, Jan 14, 2021): "Google is under fire for blocking some Australian news sites from search results as part of an experiment. . . . Google insists the move was just one of 'thousands of experiments' it runs every year."

NYT's Jack Nicas shares letters (Jan 21) from Representatives Eshoo (CA) and Malinowski (NJ) to the "CEOs of Facebook, Google, YouTube and Twitter, urging them to fix their algorithms that promote conspiracy theories and push people to political extremes." ... "The algorithms sort and spread 'information to users by feeding them the content most likely to reinforce their existing political biases, especially those rooted in anger, anxiety and fear.'"

Google Proceeds With Fitbit Deal, but Government Reviews Continue (WSJ, Jan 14, 2021)

- - -

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Artist Track Album Images Approx. start time
  Jonathan Lethem discusses his new novel, "The Arrest," about a world without screens.
Tomaš Dvořák  Game Boy Tune   Options Machinarium Soundtrack 
  Mark's intro    
  Interview with Jonathan Lethem, part 1    
0:03:07 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
  Interview with Jonathan Lethem, part 2    
0:20:33 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
  Mark's comments after the interview    
0:38:18 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
James Hetfield and the News  Hip to Be the Sandman   Options  
0:55:38 (MP3 | Pop‑up)

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Listener comments!

Avatar 5:52pm Big Kat:

Hello, Wrecked-Onyx family....!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:00pm Handy Haversack:

While waiting, I accidentally added Tech Campari and Tech vermouth to my Tech Gin -- but that doesn't mean I'm not very ready for some Techtonic!

Greetings, Mark and the Techyon Drives!
  6:01pm David in London:

Good evening Mark and all Technoids.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:02pm Yes:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:02pm HyperDose:

@Handy But would you say you're a nerd or a geek?
  6:03pm Little Mexican Girl:

Why not both?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:03pm melinda:

hi all!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:03pm Phillippe Bastille:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:04pm tim from champaign (now washington):

Hi Mark and everybody!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:04pm Handy Haversack:

HyperDose, let me answer by saying that my single favorite line from Community is "Dragon Turtle. You?"
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:05pm HyperDose:

What's the rumpus?!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:05pm tim from champaign (now washington):

Great cover art!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:05pm PaulRobeson1920:

Good evening one and all!
Handy ignore the none-sense bot
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:06pm Yes:

enjoying the bernies
  6:06pm evan:

highly recommend "infinited detail" by tim maughan if this premise interests folks
Avatar 6:06pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Day the Earth Stood Still
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:07pm WR:

One question in my mind, do fire arms work in the proposed dystopian event? oh, he just answered, guns don't work...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:07pm Mark Hurst:

Hi all, thanks for joining in! @Yes thanks - the Bernies were fun to see this past week (well, since last Wednesday)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:07pm Therese:

Hi Mark! Hi Mark's listeners!

I'm a long time fan of Jonathan Lethem, super-stoked for this interview!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:07pm Handy Haversack:

@evan, Mark interviewed Tim Maughan also and had a follow-up, I believe! See the playlist page.

But, yes, excellent book!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:07pm Mark Hurst:

@Therese hi! Thanks for joining! And same!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:08pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Hello, Mark and mittened listeners.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:08pm tim from champaign (now washington):

Mark - I'm currently reading A New Hidtory of the Future in 100 Objects. I'm about a third of the way in. I'm greatly enjoying it. My own tech knowledge was surpassed after the first chapter so it's been quite fun to assume al is possible. It's definitely true science fiction.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:08pm Handy Haversack:

Therese, Mark, what are your fave books of his? I think I keep coming back to Girl in Landscape, but I love Motherless Brooklyn as well.
  6:09pm evan:

whoa handy very cool, will look that up!!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm Mark Hurst:

@Tim glad you're enjoying it. Adrian gave a great interview, I thought.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm Mark Hurst:

@Handy think you'd really enjoy The Arrest
Avatar 6:09pm Bas NL:

Hi Mark! All!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm Mark Hurst:

@Bas welcome, sir
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:10pm HyperDose:

omg Bernie on a skateboard. They just keep getting better.
Avatar 6:11pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Thot of Logan'sRun early in the pandemic...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:11pm tim from champaign (now washington):

I've only read Lethem's Gambler's Anatomy. I was luke warm about it. I'm going to read the Arrest for sure. What other Lethem should I check out?
Avatar 6:11pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

...theme of back to Medieval Feudalism in another way...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:11pm Handy Haversack:

@ evan Interview with Tim M.: www.wfmu.org...

Mark, I of course take your rec very seriously -- thanks!

Hey, Bas, David, PR1920, all upthread Paltonics.
Avatar 6:12pm Bas NL:

Hi Handy!
Avatar 6:13pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

...been thinking of PostModern PostIndustrial - PostHistorical - & Artisinal for some time...
Avatar 6:13pm herb.nyc:

This book reminds me of "Lord of the Flies". Wait, I've never read it, or seen the movie. - I caught “fortress of solitude” at the public theater. enjoyed it.
  6:14pm moparlarry:

This sounds similar to the plot line of the NBC series Revolution, without JJ Abrams microbes that eat electricity.
Avatar 6:15pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

TAZ Temporary Autonomous Zone
- we're Gypsies & not Landowners. These limits on any World - any true real continuous Culture we want to live in & establish.
Landlords 1st against the war after the Marxist Revolution...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm Therese:

@Handy: I read a few of his earlier books and enjoyed them, particularly As She Climbed Across the Table. Motherless Brooklyn is the first one I really bonded with. Fortress of Solitude is also great.
Avatar 6:15pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

against the *wall
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:16pm Handy Haversack:

Word, Therese.
Avatar 6:20pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

By 'On the Road' just going back & forth...
Now the Space Age going straight up...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:20pm Handy Haversack:

Not to mention genocidal guilt, which maybe always was part of the drive to have the whole thing anyway ...
Avatar 6:20pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

...Kerouac's 'Fellaheen'...
Avatar 6:22pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Instead of about Zombies again - maybe ceasing to be Zombies...
  6:23pm Gil:

Anyone ever seen the movie Wagons East! It’s terrible, but it’s another take on the frontier myth.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:23pm WR:

interesting point he made. movies had incredible global impact, right from the beginning.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:23pm Barney Grubbs:

Amnesia Moon was a weird dreamlike postapocalyptic road novel. I liked the Feral Detective but I can’t decouple my enjoyment from the fact that it’s mostly set around where I went to college
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:24pm PaulRobeson1920:

You say you want a revolution
Well, you know...
You tell me that it's evolution
Well, you know...
We all want to change.
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out (in)
Don't you know it's gonna be
All right? Don’t you know its gonna be allright!
Avatar 6:24pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

WR - Imago Mundo - view of the world.
Hollywood & now Silicon Valley Tech I suppose...
What are Indians? Witches? What the Movies said they were...
Avatar 6:28pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

So we're the Indians & here is the Railroad...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:28pm Handy Haversack:

One of Kim Stanley Robinson's Three Californias novels (novellas?) does a great job of imagining first-generation postapoc people encountering current tech again, too.
Avatar 6:29pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Have some Opium, some Firewater...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:30pm (Murakami Whywolf))):

If I had to live where I grew-up and had to do manual labour all the time, I wouldn't because I'd have topped myself years ago.
Avatar 6:30pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

...BigPharma - Alchemists to the Feudal...
Avatar 6:31pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

...just Click & you Agree to the Terms of this Land Treaty...
Avatar 6:32pm Bas NL:

And it probably already knows how you take your coffee..
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:35pm Handy Haversack:

I have some hot takes on Cormac McCarthy, but this probably not the place.
  6:35pm P-90:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:36pm Mark Hurst:

See all the authors Jonathan mentioned, listed at left in the Links section.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:37pm Handy Haversack:

Mark, I have a little trove of Ballard images and scenarios that I keep hoping to work into our ongoing game. A few have managed to crop up.

I think that Emily St. John Mandel book is really lovely. Excellently done.
  6:37pm Techno Phil:

Uh, most of history has been a sewer. Just try being a rebel or having an original thought in a traditional peasant village—or in a hunter-gatherer band. I'm against all the oppression Big Tech is trying and will try, but historically most people have been ruled by men just like Trump, if they were lucky by someone a bit smarter, say Mussolini or Göring, and without tech that's what we'd soon get.

Is it a coincidence that slavery suddenly (in historical terms) became immoral to most people after we got steam engines?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:38pm Mark Hurst:

@Handy which one - Station Eleven?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:38pm Handy Haversack:

@Mark, yes! We have not gotten her newest yet.
Avatar 6:40pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Well... the Big Tech & its Monopolies haven't delivered the PostIndistrial society. We're burning up Nature faster & faster. Environmental warriors are being murdered by the score in the Amazon by Fascists & Industrialists...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:40pm WR:

has Tom Cruise optioned the book yet?
  6:41pm dano59:

I am roughly JL's age and grew up on dystopian lit and movies, and I'm pretty sure we're in the thick of those scenarios now.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:41pm Handy Haversack:

Really interesting interview, Mark -- thanks! Jonathan L. gave a really grounded talk. Super refreshing. Thanks to him as well!
Avatar 6:41pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Ballard & Dick became the Hardy Boys. Love.
  6:41pm lazy rider:

Who were the other two authors JL mentioned? Lydia Millet and ?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:42pm melinda:

@Rabbit I liked that observation too.
  6:43pm evan:

@handy @mark i just read this for the first time!! zeitgeist indeed
Avatar 6:43pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Have found myself that RetroFuturist metaphors/ imagery arises spontaneously as a way I think of processing my Future Shock...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:43pm Handy Haversack:

@lazy rider: Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam (www.indiebound.org...)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:44pm Handy Haversack:

There's nothing as charming in a public figure as hearing they are WFMU fans! I mean, I'm not saying that if Lars Ulrich said it I'd suddenly like him. But I am just saying ...
  6:45pm lazy rider:

Thanks All!!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:45pm melinda:

@Handy haha. I find it charming too.
  6:45pm lazy rider:

Handy and Mark!
Avatar 6:45pm RobinSays:

Great interview. Covid-19 has made life a lot like THX-1138.
Avatar 6:47pm Big Kat:

Aussies should like Google lol — both were colonized by ex-cons, eh.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:47pm adampsyche:

imagine emailing Mark a story about Google and thinking you've scooped him
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:48pm adampsyche:

honest question, doesn't Google News just show a blurb and then if you click the link you're on their page? isn't that driving traffic and ad revenue to the publishers?
Avatar 6:48pm Big Kat:

"Phree" is the new Free.
It's a phosphorescent deodorant that teens use as a mental stimulant.
Avatar 6:49pm Bas NL:

Shh Mark! Mention G**gle two more times and you're on their front page!
  6:50pm P-90:

Good question, I’ve never seen Google News. Do they actually reprint articles, or just link to them...?
Avatar 6:50pm Big Kat:

Australia to Google: "Suck our toes!"
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:50pm adampsyche:

a link and a blurb.
  6:50pm moparlarry:

Google get the first bite of ad revenues before the news organization that published it. Plus there is a copyright infringement issue. They’re reprinting without permission or compensation
  6:50pm evan:

man really love this show. great interview thank u mark
Avatar 6:51pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Because you're right - it's protection racket Mafioso behavior...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:51pm Tommy in Neversink:

Google doesn't think they are replaceable in Australia ?
Avatar 6:51pm Bas NL:

We are G**gle. You will service us.
  6:51pm Dean:

Don't let the Australian screen door hit you on the ass on the way out.
Avatar 6:51pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Could be DuckDuckGo's big break? I wish.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:52pm Handy Haversack:

@evan, it's irreplaceable! If Techtonic didn't exist, we'd have to invent it. I'm glad Mark dealt with that -- I'm a lazy, lazy man!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:52pm adampsyche:

but wouldn't this be giving Australia what Mark wants, fewer Google users
Avatar 6:52pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Why I say we need a Bill of Digital Rights. Because the Territory is Cyberspace & we're There. Right Here.
  6:53pm P-90:

So Google is going to “punish” Australia by setting Australia free from Google? And start deserting county-size markets, leaving vacuums that competitors can fill? That’s a threat?
  6:53pm moparlarry:

Of course the news Industry brought it on itself by allowing access to content and not enforcing its copyrights rights from the start and demanding Google, FB , et al pay for content.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Lisa Simpson resorts to using Google - youtu.be...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm Handy Haversack:

Or the news industry did it to itself by basing its entire business model on advertising ...
  6:54pm So....:

Is Techtonic exploiting ME?
  6:54pm PJ:

Google has made its billions by ripping off copyright from artists, writers, anybody who creates anything that can be digitized.
  6:54pm dano59:

I'll listen this at least once more and check out the art and links/further reading.
To make America unpalatable to Google it would have to be much less palatable.
  6:55pm Brenna:

Hell yeah Mark!
Avatar 6:55pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Well Journalism & Entertainment & Corporate Capitalism - tangled up...
  6:55pm dano59:

I meant less profitable...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm Handy Haversack:

Can Jonathan Lethem Arrest Google? How far does his power extend?

Testify, Mark!
Avatar 6:56pm Big Kat:

Will #GoogleFaceTwitbook please leave the USA??
Avatar 6:56pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Can I believe signs of Accountability have begun? Are People & Politicians being woke to everything this Program has long reported??
  6:56pm Brenna:

Bye Felicia... sashay ah-way
(google + facebook)
  6:57pm dano59:

So much for the Internet as the great equalizer and democratizing force ...
  6:57pm David in London:

Jeffrey Epstein’s Island is currently vacant. Let’s ship ‘em all there.
Avatar 6:57pm Bas NL:

Search thyselves.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:57pm tim from champaign (now washington):

Thanks Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm melinda:

Thanks Mark, great interview
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Handy Haversack:

Another absolute necessity of a show! Thanks, Mark! So very appreciated!

Be well, Techyon Drives!
Avatar 6:58pm Bas NL:

Thanks Mark!
Avatar 6:58pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

...Establish this new Country - to promote the General Welfare on the Internet...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, everyone! Fun chat board this evening!
  6:58pm jshmlr:

Another great show, thanks Mark!
  6:58pm P-90:

Got news for ya Mark. Google is never going to pull out of Australia or any other market. Maybe getting so worked up about it is gratifying them by taking their bluff as seriously as they want you to...
  6:58pm seedfriend:

Great interview thanks.
  6:58pm David in London:

Thanks Mark.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Handy Haversack:

(This mashup might break our apartment!)
  6:58pm PJ:

For a minute I thought this was an actual collaboration between Hetfield and the News
  6:59pm Brenna:

Thanks for a great show today :)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm HyperDose:

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm Fuzzy:

The irony, it burns!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm Mark Hurst:

@Brenna thanks for joining!
  6:59pm dano59:

Google would literally kill to crack the China ban.
  7:00pm P-90:

  7:00pm lazy rider:

Avatar 7:01pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

...to Tax our attention & identities without Representation...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:05pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Thanks, Mark. Let us preserve a special Bernie image for the archives - www.wfmu.org...
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