This was a good idea. Too bad Alex Balk was too lazy to actually make it happen.
I'm one of the people who read Callanan's book by accident. I had been intrigued by a review of the Mitchell book way back when, and I figured I better read it before the movie came out, so I got it from the library. I kept wondering "what could the review have said about this that would have made it seem so appetizing? This is not my usual thing." At page 75 or so, I discovered I had the "wrong" book, but I finished it anyway. The characters of Lily and Gurley are vivid and have a lot of those satisfying moments that make you say "That was totally unexpected, yet inevitable." It's a shame that this book is destined to live in the penumbra of the other one; they're both good, but in different ways.
@Modesprofessor The thing that is new is scrapbooking stuff that doesn't exist. Before scrapbooking became a big industry, people made albums of family photos, of their vacations, of things they had actually experienced (or maybe of their love for Davy Jones). But now with Pinterest, you have people making scrapbooks of ... stuff they want to buy someday? The "mood board," apparently relied on by professional interior designers, has been taken up by the masses as a tool with which to practice the study of "I want that, and that, and that." I wouldn't argue that scrapbooking actually is equivalent to curating, but I wouldn't be surprised if scrapbooking is as close as many people will ever come to curating. When there's several lifetimes' worth of items to browse (in the web-surfing sense and the department-store sense), and when people judge themselves by what they buy, the situation is ripe for a culture of fetishized virtual shopping. This idea is echoed in the proliferation of bucket lists, "books I want to read," "1000 Places to See Before You Die." Sondheim wrote "The choice may have been mistaken; the choosing was not." More and more, we are seeing people exercise the activity of choosing, without the result of actually having made a choice.
I'm going to stick up for the idea behind "Curation is replacing creation as a mode of self-expression." The Apartment Therapy website usually shows rooms people designed, furniture they remodeled, things they made. But now they've started to show inane features such as "If I were building my dream kitchen, here's pictures of seven things I'd put in it!" And this is content? I blame Pinterest, and I think people do take this fantasy-shopping-league activity seriously enough to think of themselves as curators. When your identity is rooted in "what have I bought," choosing products becomes a theology.
Why is this part of our zeitgeist? The internet has made an overwhelming amount of content available. Choosing really is more of a chore than it ever has been, so naturally a cult of choosing will arise.