The Peep Diaries

Hal Niedzviecki

Chance led me to meet this author in person once. However, my ultimate opinion of The Peep Diaries can't really be bound by a sense of “hey, I know that guy!”

It captured the moment of a particular zeitgeist, when Web 2.0 social networking first broke the scene proper, as well as the early confusions and social ramifications it presented. Sadly, its final chapters make fully clear how the book never really intended to break any new grounds, as it researched a whole lot less than it ultimately led on. I think it has value as a somewhat-reliable primary document for a specific point in history, but not much beyond that.

Niedzviecki vanished off my radar for several years after I read this book, only to re-emerge in the middle of some controversy. He landed in metaphorical hot water for writing a rather infamous editorial column that appeared in a small publication available only to the membership of the Writers’ Union of Canada. (A small publication noteworthy for being read almost exclusively by people with access within the Canadian media, who all then snitched on him to every other outlet in the Canadian media.) Following that, he claims to have been “excommunicated” from the sphere of Canadian literature. He then took up writing about this immortalized faux-pas on various right-wing websites and publications. All told, a rather sad turn of events, both in the fact that it happened and his own also-unfortunate reaction to it. Fortunately for me, it is only offhandedly humorous, simply because Niedzviecki's book turned out rather un-useful for my own research into the subject.

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