Duke professor Cathy Davidson's new book, Now You See It (see review on page 26), has been called "galvanic," "an immensely enjoyable omni-manifesto" and "an optimistic, even thrilling, summer read"—all by digital culture critic Virginia Heffernan of The New York Times. High praise indeed: Heffernan writes about 21st-century media with the grace of a 19th-century novelist, and her writings for the Times are an embrace by the "old media" of the new, conferring legitimacy to Web-based culture among the Times readership (average age: 42). In Davidson, Heffernan may have found her patron saint in academia.
Like Heffernan, Davidson is a champion of our new digital tools. Now You See It calls for a top-to-bottom rethinking of our workplaces and schools, one that acknowledges and fully exploits the technological changes that have come, and are yet to come, with increasing speed, to each new crop of schoolchildren. She argues that stubborn fuddy-duddyism and an institutional reluctance to diverge from past methods will only hold back tomorrow's multiplatform, multitasking workforce. Davidson will speak in Duke's Rare Book Room in Perkins Library on Wednesday, Aug. 31, at 4 p.m., and at the Regulator Bookshop on Thursday, Sept. 1, at 7 p.m. Both events are free. —Marc Maximov