HomeShoppingSpy declares trendy the motif of the typewriter as an element of design. (Easy, now. I know there is a keychopped ring in there. Let’s set that aside for a moment.) This windy tome, as I recall, discusses typewriters as writerly talismans, accenting jewelry, soundtracks, and book covers to impart the fine mist of literary nostalgia upon the watcher or wearer. It’s becoming a cliche, in fact, this notion of what is “literary:” Lone writer at a desk. Mid-20th century. America, or Europe, perhaps. Typewriter. Cigarette. A certain stylish cut to the clothes. It is something more than words.
Can one be ‘literary’ in sweatpants, writing on a Macbook? Can one be ‘literary’ tapping flash fiction on a T-Mobile Sidekick? I’d argue that the word is rooted in the now-romanticized idea of a writer in a sportscoat at a desk, 1950-something, typing away at a Smith Corona. Whatever we’re doing now with our microblogged soundbites or .docx files or Skyped conversations is not literary, even if the result is literature.
Or is it?