Wednesday, April 30, 2008

looking for the mouse...

HERE is a neat article by author Clay Shirky on the topic of where our society, as consumers of media, are going. His theories are fascinating, and I particularly like the way he makes parallels between modern sitcoms and gin pushcarts from the early industrial revolution. here's a snippet of one of his punchier points, for the link averse:

So [watching less television is] the answer to the question, "Where do they find the time?" Or, rather, that's the numerical answer. But beneath that question was another thought, this one not a question but an observation. In this same conversation with the TV producer I was talking about World of Warcraft guilds, and as I was talking, I could sort of see what she was thinking: "Losers. Grown men sitting in their basement pretending to be elves."

At least they're doing something.

Did you ever see that episode of Gilligan's Island where they almost get off the island and then Gilligan messes up and then they don't? I saw that one. I saw that one a lot when I was growing up. And every half-hour that I watched that was a half an hour I wasn't posting at my blog or editing Wikipedia or contributing to a mailing list. Now I had an ironclad excuse for not doing those things, which is none of those things existed then. I was forced into the channel of media the way it was because it was the only option. Now it's not, and that's the big surprise. However lousy it is to sit in your basement and pretend to be an elf, I can tell you from personal experience it's worse to sit in your basement and try to figure if Ginger or Mary Ann is cuter.

the title refers to the fact that a friend of his has a 4-year old who sprung up in the middle of a dvd to root around in the cables behind their entertainment center to "look for the mouse". because children today think that if their entertainment isn't interactive, it's probably not worth sitting through. as someone who hasn't sat down to watch tv on anything approaching a regular basis in three years, i heartily agree with the kid.

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