I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about the democritization of art brought about by the internet…even as it gives me an outlet that 15 years ago was barely imaginable. And I mean barely as my bandmates and I, having just seen Netscape Navigator for the first time in 1994 on an Intel 486i with 500 MB of storage, could only DREAM of the day that one could transfer a whole album to a computer without taking up the entirehard drive.
Google and Blogs have slaughtered traditional media. Everyone is a journalist now, or a critic, a filmmaker, a musician…this can all too easily be interpreted as a 21st Century cultural Renaissance but there are inherit dangers to this digital emancipation.
The economic crisis of the 1930s came on the heels of a Great War whose swath of destruction was in great part magnified by leaps and bounds in transportation technology, namely steam and rail. Alliances were built on hypothetical timetables that had to be respected no matter the human cost.
The faillure of political macro-economics in the 30s re-ignited the embers of what was supposed to be the last of the great conficts…
The new communication technologies of the day, radio and film were the weapons of mass propaganda that fed the flames of xenophobia and hatred… When this firestorm of human folly had passed 60 miilion people had rendered their souls in large part because the average citizen had no idea of what to make of propaganda but to accept it as Truth.
The gate keeping methodolgy of media in the following decades was built on the pursuit of objectivity. I won’t go into detail but suffice to say that the concentration of media we have today is no better for society than the concentration of power we presently have in financial institutions.
I hate to sound like a prophet of doom. I wish I could be more hopeful and I hope that I am wrong…but the same forces that drive the Internet Hype machine drive the propagation of at best, ignorance and indifference, and at worst, hatred and evil.
There is no doubt in my mind that many good tings have, and will, come of it but I have a nagging feeling that there isn’t enough being done to ensure that people are being exposed to balanced ideas about the challenges that face humanity in the coming Century and beyond.
The masses are no longer systematically exposed to information that has been vetted by a rigorous critical analysis based on historical models of rational thought.
The entire planet is being reduced to a global high school popularity contest. It’s what drives me nuts about college indie rock. It is no coincidence that those who consider themselves musicians are genarally much less technically proficient and significantly better looking than during the “glory days” of the pre-internet/music sharing era.
Cool kids have the money and the advantage and have pushed the “real” musicians aside….as well as the “real” journalists and I guess you could say the same about politicians.
The World is being railroaded by the Bold and the Beautiful. The Meek might damn well inherit the Earth…but there won’t be much left of it to enjoy the way things are going.