One of the most annoying idiocies of contemporary internet life is Google's and other corporations' faux-friendly offers to help you out by selecting products for you! Friends for you! News "Recomended For You." Based on the deep understanding of your spiritual and intellectual needs revealed by the last thing you bought on line, the infinitely caring algorithms are making our lives better, easier, and more enjoyable all the time. (Please read E. M. Forster's "The Machine Stops," by the way. Also see Pixar's Wall-E.
) Every once in a while these mindless intrusions are as funny as they are annoying, as was the case in an offer a friend of mine received from Amazon a few weeks ago: "Receive updates from Auden!" She and I had fun thinking up some possible updates W. H. Auden might post via website or Twitter, even though he's been dead since 1973. These included:
- Spanish Civil War For Losers. Glad I Didn't Go.
- Can't Decide Whether Poetry Changes Anything or Not
- Seven Tips for Staying Gay and Sane in Oxford c. 1955
and so on.
Now, it occurs to me that if we can sign up to receive updates from Auden, even more enthralling possibilities exist. As far as I know, William Shakespeare has at