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@crossingthethreshold Exactly! And until the advent of CSS and flexbox, HTML was just as clunky as Markdown when it came to complex typography.

You’re touching on something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently, namely, how our technologies shape our expression. It’s unsettling to realize how often the tools choose the task and how rarely the task dictates the tools. This was one of the unstated issues I was kicking against as I was trialling Ulysses and reviewing my overall workflow — was my workflow serving me, or was I serving my workflow?

And this is actually part of what McLuhan meant by “the medium is the message” — that every novel technology (e.g. the alphabet, movable type, double-entry bookkeeping, musical notation, tempered instruments, radio, multi-track recording, ProTools, PowerPoint, HTML, email, etc etc) both expands and constricts our possibilities for expression, and that the mode of communication we choose will itself become part of whatever we’re trying to express.

For example, a lot of contemporary poetry is being written to look good on computer screens, for which there isn’t any simple way of indenting — at least not within the limited coding abilities of most poets or online lit mag editors. So while poetry has never been so available to so many people, there is a whole universe of poems that are NOT being written now that would have been effortlessly common in the 1950s with the use of typewriters and mimeograph machines, and Linotype and Monotype typesetting.

And this is another aspect of Zoom fatigue: culture shock. The environment in which we communicate alters how, and even what, we communicate — and with Zoom (and Meets, and Teams, etc) we’ve been forced suddenly into a dramatically different medium and our expectations of how we communicate hasn’t caught up.

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