One of my favorite ones is in SpongeBob SquarePants, where there's a character called Eugene Krabs, which is a reference to Eugene Debs, the progressive union leader. So obviously the people who make these things enjoy throwing these things in, to keep themselves amused.

IT'S FUNNY, I THINK I ONLY KNOW ABOUT EUGENE DEBS BECAUSE KURT VONNEGUT REFERENCES HIM IN HIS BOOKS.

Yeah, exactly.

IN YOUR BOOK, YOU TALK A LOT ABOUT TECHNOLOGY AND THE WAY IT AFFECTS EVERYTHING: COLLECTING, LISTENING TO MUSIC, ETC. ARE PEOPLE OBSESSING OVER TECHNOLOGY TO A POINT WHERE IT'S STRANGLING THE ARTISTIC SIDE OF MUSIC? IN BOSTON, FOR INSTANCE, HARVARD SQUARE USED TO BE A PLACE WHERE THERE WERE TWENTY RECORD STORES, NOW THERE ARE TWENTY PHONE STORES WHERE I CAN GET A SMARTPHONE TO — AMONG OTHER THINGS — LISTEN TO MUSIC. AND MOST OF THE RECORD STORES ARE LONG GONE. HAS TECHNOLOGY USURPED THE EXCITEMENT ONCE RESERVED FOR MUSIC CULTURE?

It seems to have displaced it, yeah. I mean, there is so much excitement about phones and platforms and apps, and it seems to have demoted the cultural matter that's being organized and distributed, somewhat. It's hard to say. I know, for my own family — who are super into gadgets and programs — my son uses them in quite crazy ways, he makes little movies and edits them in super-fast and super-slick ways. Maybe he'll get into music later, but music seems to be much more of a background for him. It isn't what's libidinizedat this point. And I think people find these devices and platforms or whatever, and they find them terribly exciting and, I suppose, empowering in some way.

YOU'VE WRITTEN BEFORE ABOUT HOW PEOPLE ARE LESS BORED NOWADAYS, IN A SENSE. I FEEL THAT EVEN FOR MYSELF, WHAT DROVE ME TO ROCK AND OTHER KINDS OF MUSIC WAS BOREDOM, AND IT'S HARD TO IMAGINE KIDS NOWADAYS BEING BORED. I READ A STUDY RECENTLY THAT KIDS ARE LESS INTERESTED IN BUYING CARS, AND IT'S BLAMED/ATTRIBUTED TO CELL PHONES AND SMARTPHONES. I SEE A TIE BETWEEN THAT AND PEOPLE BEING LESS EXCITED ABOUT MUSIC IN GENERAL. BECAUSE, AT LEAST IN AMERICA, THERE'S ALWAYS BEEN THIS CONNECTION BETWEEN POPULAR MUSIC, THE AUTOMOBILE, AND INDIVIDUAL FREEDOM.

People feel like when they're using the Internet, they're going somewhere, even though they're static, in their room. My son spends a lot more time indoors hunched over his laptop then I ever — well, I didn't have a laptop as a child, obviously. I spent a lot of time reading, but I spent a lot of time outdoors, and he spends a lot of time indoors. I know you can't really base a sweeping cultural statement on a sample of one within your own house, it's not very scientific. But yeah, I think I read that same thing about car ownership going down, although it obviously has a lot to do with the economy, as well. But yeah, some of the needs and emotions that were done physically can now be done in this weird — you feel like you're going somewhere because the whole world is inside the Internet: you can go shopping, you can go visit with people, you can look at stuff. You feel like you've gone somewhere but you've just been sat in your chair. So that makes sense.

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