Why are first things so interesting to us? I had no idea that hack was a 1920's invention at MIT for a gag or prank or that, as we learn in page 41 of the 9 June 2003 New Yorker, that hip-hoppy scratchity records was invented in 1975 by a guy, perhaps only later called Grandmaster Lester, trying to not listen to his mom. I have been both attracted to these firsts of information but, then, suspicious of them, too. Blame book learning. In Gogol's Dead Souls, one Russian's Dante's Inferno, the first layer of human vanity we encounter is in the person of Manilov, the personification of the superficial, of whom Gogol writes:
...never did these projects pass beyond the stage of debate. Likewise there lay in his study a book with the fourteenth page permanently turned down. It was a book which he had been reading for the past two years! In general, something seemed to be wanting in the establishment.