Gopnik on hyperlinks

Adam Gopnik, author of Paris to the Moon — a personal favorite of the Vilhauer family — is the guest blogger at this week. This happens a lot with the Internet. I’ll notice that a writer I like will join the scene and not fully know how blogging works, and I’ll find myself incredibly excited about this. It’s as if Adam has entered into the same world as me and is prepared to greet me as a close friend. He’ll ask me advice on how to post his thoughts. He’ll invite Kerrie and I to his home, and we’ll fawn over his great writing, and I’ll be asked to help host a weblog with him, and we’ll end up co-writing the next great travel memoir.

See? Sometimes reality isn’t the place my mind is often rooted.

Anyway, he made an interesting mention of the hyperlinks that we bloggers needlessly throw into our message.

The links, which shine for the writer like Christmas lights on the dead tree of his prose, are both thrilling, as they glowingly wink the reader on to deeper knowledge — an off-hand reference becomes a hard, positive thing — and falsely seductive, since of course the hyperlinks illuminate the paragraph without really improving it, give it a sense of depth that is enlivening rather than really enlarging.

It makes the links seem so worthless in a self-mocking sort of way, which I guess they are.

This was lovingly handwritten on December 22nd, 2005