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Locomotivation...Cover by lostbooks Locomotivation...Cover by lostbooks
Thought I should include the cover of my previous post.

The digesting, defecating duck was the invention of Jacques de Vaucanson (1709-1782). It appears as a major character in Thomas Pynchon's novel, Mason and Dixon, and is mentioned in passing in William Gaddis' Agapē, Agape, where Gaddis is more concerned with Vaucanson's automation of the French silk industry, using punch cards to direct the looms. Jacquard, who refined the process, generally gets the credit, and is named as the great-grandfather of the computer, followed by Pascal, Liebniz and Babbage with his difference engine. Gaddis' real interest in Agapē, Agape is the player piano, which he sees as a turning point in culture, the beginning of Debord's Society of the Spectacle, perhaps - the beginning of authentic experience giving way to simulation and spectacle and mass mediocrity. The enTRAINment of the masses in the grand parade of lifeless packaging, the commodification of the world, and the redefinition of the human as passive consumer of whatever is shoveled its way - man as digesting, defecating automaton.

The train, on the other hand, was a satirical drawing from an early railroad journal, mocking the then-current competition among locomotive designers, to create the most absurdly complex gearing that could still be made to function. Technology, carried away by its own momentum, producing monstrosities which demand our diligent service, creating more problems than they solve, and so demanding more extreme technological fixes - and so on, ad infinitum.

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