10 Comments Add yours

  1. joevc says:

    Great thoughts. The rigidity of software is something we seldom consider, while in contrast the typewriter affords us opportunity to “own” the whole process, customized to our liking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mcfeats says:

      I think the fact that more people have more control over maintenance and repair of the typewriter makes a difference, too. Computer/software repair takes more training. People who drove Model-Ts often could do their own maintenance. Now when the computer malfunctions in modern cars, we’re screwed. We have become disconnected from our tools and therefore from the processes that those tools were meant to actuate.

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  2. Bill M says:

    In the coal country we had the coal and iron cops. It seems Ford had the Ford car cops. Either way both (cops) were mean and nasty. He could have used the Pinkerton gang, They had a reputation of shoot to kill ask questions later.

    It is nice to be able to work on, modify, or repair one’s own things. I wonder how many repaired their own typewriters back in the typewriter days. I never recall anyone stating they fixed their own typewriters or adding machines. Even my electronics mentor who could build or repair almost anything would never touch a typewriter except to type on it.

    Back in the early computer days I liked revising software and writing my own. I changed to Linux to rid myself of the frustration of being chained to Microsoft and untouchable software. I still use 90% open source software, but seldom delve into any source cone. My interests have moved on from the all-new computer to better things. I even went back to a dumb phone.

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  3. Bill M says:

    correction: code

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  4. mcfeats says:

    The cheapest joke I can use in class is to show my phone to my students. Jaws drop.

    My union has made major concessions over the years in Florida. The “right to work” lingo is diabolical. Meanwhile, California is now naming some contract workers employees. Lyft and Uber are in trouble.

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  5. mcfeats says:

    I remember the days when I learned some programming on Logos. Those were the days. At work I’m not permitted to load software on my PC.

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  6. Richard P says:

    Great points about controlling the process of writing. There is a real sense of satisfaction that comes from “owning” the written “product.”

    Let’s remember, by the way, that Ford was also a paranoid antisemite.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. mcfeats says:

      I do discuss that in class. I think that’s part of the foil Doctorow sets up between Ford and Tateh. Houdini and Emma Goldman are also in the novel.

      Ford’s antisemitism, which he spread through his magazine, is that quintessential racism of someone who has never encountered the people he others. Straight boogeyman stuff, which Trump has echoed in the past, in spite of his policies on Israel (which, I’m sure, is about building hotels).

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  7. DonN says:

    In his last years Henry Ford rode his bicycle around on Mt Desert Island, and hung out with John D Rockefeller. I was told he disliked cars!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. mcfeats says:

      He was a complicated person. At home he preferred the simple life. He also said that “history is bunk,” not caring for the past. Yet he built a park that celebrates the history of tools.

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