Cut and Paste with Intention

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However crude, social media today allows us to cut and paste our world into a space (mostly) under our control.

Whether we’re posting on Pinterest (an action likened to tearing pages out of a magazine to share with friends), retweeting news updates, or liking songs on Facebook, the internet serves as a new scrapbook of sorts.

In his NYR Blog essay conversation with Ellen Gruber Garvey’s Writing with Scissors: American Scrapbooks from the Civil War to the Harlem Renaissance, Christopher Benfey explores the transition from consumer to producer through intentional posting.

Scrapbook-style writers included range from Walt Whitman to abolitionists, Emily Dickinson to modern NYT columnist Joe Nocera — all of whom are trying to bring order to the torrent of information overwhelming readers.


Caroline Kangas calls both Seattle and San Francisco home (though she currently resides in the latter). She recently received a mouthful of a liberal arts degree from the University of San Francisco and can be found selling pirate supplies at 826 Valencia or wandering the streets with her diva of a french bulldog, Elle. More from this author →