It's a sign that the Kindle has achieved some sort of cultural status, when the New York Times can run editorials about how scary it is. Roy Blount Jr., whom I admire as a comedian, offers a very strange sort of take on why the Kindle is bad.
One idea is the copyright infringement argument. This refers to the text reading function which appears in the new Kindle: "Kindle 2 can read books aloud. And Kindle 2 is not paying anyone for audio rights." The Authors Guild, of which Blount is president, has already taken issue.
Others have already offered counterarguments, namely that the feature isn't likely to appeal widely enough to create noticeable royalties. Or, if it does boost sales, it boosts sales. But it is noteworthy for fearsome digital technology studies to see this new front open up.
Listen, too, to the odd, sad opening line:
What a grim way to begin the piece. And what an Oedipal, parricidal theme to evoke. Blount even returns to it at the end, in a way that's charming, sweet, and somewhat scary:
The death of a father, plus children's stories - these go together very deeply.
This isn't to say Blount's piece isn't (intentionally) funny. I love this idea: