Slate Article on Digital Tabernacle

“Confess Your Digital Sins” appeared yesterday in Slate’s Future Tense section.


In the article I try to explain some of the reasons behind this seemingly evangelical, sacrilegious, and luddite project, which is none of these things, and can only be viewed as a work of irony. A recent blog post on The New Yorker site by Casey N. Cep provides a strong critique of digital abstinence, suggesting that it is a “priggish impulse” akin to “Thoreau ignoring the locomotive that passed by his cabin at Walden Pond.” If Thoreau had to ignore that steam engine to bring his thoughts into the world, then so be it. One might even suggest that Cep’s post has a whiff emancipatory rhetoric about it, as if digital media has come to save us from the drudgery and limitations of everyday life, including Walden Pond. Well, so be it. The point of Digital Tabernacle is not to chastise the worshippers in the church of digital media, but rather to get people–luddites and enthusiasts alike–thinking about: a) the role of ritual in a digital culture; and b) the impact of staying “plugged in” on our minds, souls, and bodies (as if such things could be viewed as distinct).