Lately, I have been piecing together soundtracks from following itune trails, the ones that say intimate things like, if you bought that, you might also like these. There, in the midst of the impersonal internet — a suggestion — knowledge of me and my tastes, even if it is just commercial knowledge. And the suggestion is so delicate, just a thought — “you might also like these.” I want to say, thank you, itunes, you are so thoughtful. It is not that I am naive. I know that I would be talking to an algorithm, not a person and that this is everything that is bad. Itunes has all my information, my demographics, and is using me, preying on my uncertainties and my loneliness. But the writing is so cozy, like we are chatting, so that even though I know I am being sold to, I feel like I have confided in someone who knows everything about me, more like G-d than Big Brother. And it/they seems to know everything, that I like Bach, but I also like the Eels. Sometimes, I try to convince itunes that I am an individual, unlike anyone else, that I like The Velvet Underground and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and no one else does. But in algorithm world there is not much room for originality. Itunes sticks to its (their) guns, as I am sure it does with you. If I buy Schubert, itunes suggests Mozart, not Vampire Weekend. At any rate, I should not be trawling the universe to buy songs when I have less than two months to finish a book. But I use the songs for writing. I plug my headphones in and listen and write and then I can’t hear my son wondering about when dinner might be.
The strange thing is that I just found out that Steve Jobs just died. Here is a great NPR tribute.