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what would be superseded would be not only something, but somebody.In order to be technologically up-to-date as a writer, I would have to sacrifice an association that I am dependent upon and that I treasure.
It should do work that is clearly and demonstrably better than the one it replaces.4.
It should use less energy than the one it replaces.5.
As she types, she sees things that are wrong and marks them with small checks in the margins.
She is my best critic because she is the one most familiar with my habitual errors and weaknesses.
Best of all, Wife is politically correct because she breaks a writer's "direct dependence on strip-mined coal." History teaches us that Wife can also be used to beat rugs and wash clothes by hand, thus eliminating the need for the vacuum cleaner and washing machine, two more nasty machines that threaten the act of writing. I have no quarrel with Berry because he prefers to write with pencil and paper; that is his choice.
But he implies that I and others are somehow impure because we choose to write on a computer. Their shortcoming is not that they produce electricity but how they go about it.
If possible, it should use some form of solar energy, such as that of the body.6.
It should be repairable by a person of ordinary intelligence, provided that he or she has the necessary tools.7.
It should not replace or disrupt anything good that already exists, and this includes family and community relationships. LETTERS Wendell Berry provides writers enslaved by the computer with a handy alternative: Wife—a low-tech energy-saving device.
1987 After the foregoing essay, first published in the New England Review and Bread Loaf Quarterly, was reprinted in Harper's, the Harper's editors published the following letters in response and permitted me a reply. Drop a pile of handwritten notes on Wife and you get back a finished manuscript, edited while it was typed. Wife meets all of Berry's uncompromising standards for technological innovation: she's cheap, repairable near home, and good for the family structure.