Dear Marco Roth: You Ain’t Me

Marco Roth of n+1 magazine has an essay about the future of books that may or may not have anything to say. It is impossible to tell, because it is written in the absurdly grating literary/arbitrary second person. It begins:

Much of your life is now spent traveling along the American Northeast, from Baltimore to Boston.

Well, not now, but 15 or 20 years ago, OK.

It goes on, though (“You live, after all, within a matrix of ‘planned obsolescence’ "), and on, till it works its way around to possibly the worst second-person sentence in the history of American letters:

Then, one day, you forget when or who or how since it’s now a pounding conventional wisdom, but maybe it was at the University of Pennsylvania, an implacably utilitarian place where you taught for a semester, in any case someone suggested that these people mostly wrote the way they did because of the printing technologies available to them.

Penn? What the heck was I thinking when I wrote that? Oh, I didn’t write it. “I” did. Meaning some other dude.

Here’s a writing technology, Marco Roth: shift-command-H. Find all, replace all. “You” with “me,” meaning me with you. Give it a shot. I’d love to hear what you have to say!