Monday, November 26, 2007

Q&A: Talking with Stephen King - TIME

HT: Google Blogscoped

I think there ought to be some serious discussion by smart people, really smart people, about whether or not proliferation of things like The Smoking Gun and TMZ and YouTube and the whole celebrity culture is healthy. We've switched from a culture that was interested in manufacturing, economics, politics — trying to play a serious part in the world — to a culture that's really entertainment-based. I mean, I know people who can tell you who won the last four seasons on American Idol and they don't know who their f------ Representatives are.

I don't know if Mr. King intended this as a criticism of Google so much as modern media culture, i.e. what is being produced as opposed to what is being hosted.

Contrast with cable TV, which provided much more in the way of educational content such as History Channel etc, while at the same time producing an explosion of mindless entertainment programming. The difference is that with cable, if times get hard, they'll keep the programming that pays the bills and jettison the intellectual stuff.

I don't see Google (or Youtube) as being in this position, unless they change significantly. They host whatever anyone wants to put out there and search for it as well. If I want news on the "DC tax scandal" I don't have to see anything else in the process of looking for it. I don't have to visit the front page of the newspapers and magazines that might carry this story. Google has given us that and the capability is not well understood by people like Mr. King.

Also not understood by Mr. King (who after all is wealthy as a results of our entertainment oriented culture) is that parents who don't take an active part in their children's development are going to raise imbeciles (functionally, regardless of their IQ). Unfortunately in that regard the damage is done, and even if we were to reverse course now (doubtful) it would take 20 years or more to see the difference.

We've made our bed and now have to sleep in it. Google can hardly be blamed.

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