1. You Are Not a Gadget
"The cumulative result is that online culture is fixated on the world as it was before the web was born."
I'm going to keep on pimping this book, and pulling out-of-context quotations, because I think it's tapped into something essential about technology, and about the development of the Internet, and about how many of the "open-source" developments we think are broadening our culture are, in fact, stifling it. Think about it--how much time have you spent in the past year combing YouTube for mash-ups of Muppets lip-syching Hold Steady songs? Now, don't get me wrong--this is great, and it brought me a great deal of enjoyment the thirty-seven times I watched it, but there is nothing inherently original about it. In essence, modern technology encourages us to repeat ourselves, to embrace was essentially schlock. And you know, maybe this is why I still love basketball and football as much as I ever have--because even in the face of an increasingly recycled culture, both of these games continue to evolve.* Sports are one of the few things that continue to breed originality.
I love it when athletes-turned-politicans lose their minds, because it reminds me of one of the inherent absurdities of our political system, which is that we're all really trapped in the seventh grade. I mean, isn't the fact that an athletic career makes one more amenable to a large segment of the voting population proof enough that we never really evolve beyond junior high school? Why was the fact that Bunning retired twenty-seven batters in a row considered an advantage in forming complex social policy?**Sometimes I wonder if the Congressional cafeteria isn't like something out of Freaks and Geeks. In which case, I'll bet Waxman gets wedgied on a daily basis.
Yeah. At this point, I have no f-ing clue what's going on.
UPDATE: I should clarify--this is not a complaint. In fact, I find myself growing increasingly annoyed with the people who seem compelled to complain about Lost, but refuse to stop watching. I've just given up on trying to figure it out, which is actually something of a relief.
*Interestingly, baseball's recent evolution appears to have occurred almost entirely A.) On paper, and B.) In a test tube. Which may explain why some people love it more than they ever have, and some people have turned away from it completely.
**The only supremely influential professional athletes-turned-politicians I can recall in the past generation are A.) Jack Kemp, and B.) Bill Bradley. Though I expect the Sarah Palin-Jay Feely ticket will be a formidable one.