Glib, Tawdry, Savvy, and Standardized

Glib, Tawdry, Savvy, and Standardized

Prognostications about media and society generally oscillate between two poles: to the north, one hears dithyrambs to a projected utopia offering fingertip access to all the information and images a citizen might need to enrich democracy and multiply freedom beyond recognition; from the south, one hears low moans about a dystopia of absolute surveillance and stupefaction. I resolve to violate certain hitherto sacrosanct rules of prognostication: I pledge not to invoke the bogeyman Big Brother; nor to use the words “horizon,” “limitless,” or “technological revolution”; nor to presume that the consequences of television are going to turn out all of a piece, the same for the entire society at all times, the same for a five-year-old in the Bronx as for a sixty-five-year-old in Tucson, the same for a keyboard operator or an apple picker as for an Apple executive, the same in the year 2000 as in 2010, 2100, or, God knows, 3000 or 30,000.

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Lima