This is interesting commentary but rings completely false to me. It’s hard for me to understand how anyone who remembers pre-internet culture can say with a straight face that culture is “more monolithic than ever.”
I grew up in a small town in America in the mid-1980’s. Everyone got the same three or four national TV channels (there was no cable service where we were), read the same local daily paper (rich folks might get the big city paper mailed to them with a perpetual two-day lag), and listened to the same two or three local radio stations. Your tiny local library might have between 1,000 and 10,000 books in it, but most of them were cookbooks, automotive manuals, and pulp novels destined for the garbage heap, and virtually all of them had been through the editorial-committee-gatekeeping at one of a half-dozen major publishing conglomerates. All the video, audio, and print culture available to me was totally controlled by a handful of corporations and there were literally no alternatives.
If you had a niche interest, you might be able to get a book on the subject through inter-library loan, but the paper card catalog at your local library would not have a comprehensive listing of what other libraries might or might not have (how could it?). That meant that the only chance you had of finding such a book was if you knew such a book existed already, and knew the title. You could send away by mail for a magazine on the subject, assuming of course that you could identify what the name and address of such a magazine even was, and that your niche interest was not so niche that no such journal of ideas existed.
And that doesn’t even cover the dozens of ideas or questions half-formed that would never be researched or even expressed because they seemed so outlandish that one simply assumed they were local to one’s own mind, never mind that dozens of people elsewhere were thinking the same things and possibly even expressing them in a fixed medium, but in ways that would never, ever, reach you.
The internet has not homogenized culture; it has just made it incredibly obvious in a data-rich way that people prefer to consume homogenous culture. The culture available to me today is vastly more heterogenous than the culture that was available to me prior to the internet, and I suspect that is true for almost anyone who isn’t living in a megalopolis (and even then…).
If one is lucky enough to have unrestricted access to the internet, one just has to be willing to look, which is far better than the previous state of affairs in which a willingness to look, by itself, was never enough.
reblogged for on-point commentary.
fyi if you’re a tiny child, there was a time when browsers didn’t have tabs. you just had the one window and had to open a separate window for every other page you wanted open simultaneously. it was real bad
I dream to someday run a companies twitter
Can we just talk about Smart Car doing math on how much bird shit it would take to damage their cars?
turns out a creampie isn’t a pastry and the internet is a disgusting place
The looming Time Warner/Comcast merger is forcing major streaming services to pay up — and that’s bad for all of us
I won’t recount all of the horrible things that could happen because of the impending Time Warner/Comcast merger, except to say that those horrible things are beginning to come to fruition. The merger, which would mean that Comcast will own 30 percent of the nation’s access to the Internet, means that Comcast will also own 30 percent of the control over that access, and unless strong net neutrality laws are put into place, we’re all kind of screwed.
Why? Well, for starters, after the merger was announced, Netflix struck a deal with Comcast to get favorable treatment so that Comcast subscribers wouldn’t have their access to Netflix disrupted. That’s good, right? Not really. As Netflix’s CEO Reed Hastings explained, Netflix only paid up because they were basically in a position where they had no choice. Comcast gave them the shake down.
Now? Apple has fallen into line. Apple is in discussions with Comcast to get its own special little pipeline into our homes so that when it rolls out its new Apple TV later this year, Comcast subscribers won’t blame Apple if they run into a lot of buffering problems when they open their brand new Apple TV sets. Amazon Prime and Hulu are probably only days or weeks behind, and what will it all mean?
It’ll mean that the major streaming services will have to pay extra for favorable treatment, and those who can’t afford to pay extra or are unwilling to do so will not get fruit cup. This is precisely why we want net neutrality in the first place: So that Internet access is open and available to everyone equally.
Indeed, not only will the money that Netflix, Amazon, Apple, and Hulu pay to Comcast eventually filter back down to the consumer in terms of higher prices, but we may get the double whammy by not only having to pay Netflix a higher subscription rate, but Comcast, too, in order to avoid caps. Many of us already pay an outrageous amount for Internet access (I pay $72 a month), and how many of us are actually happy with it? Still, without net neutrality and stronger competition among ISPs, that’s our future.
In fact, as Slate points out, it may actually benefit ISPs to have crappy Internet because it will force streaming services to pay the ISPs to open up better lanes, so the rich will get richer, and the poor will get poorer, and our Internet will eventually mirror the outside corporate structure even more than it does now. Moreover, without net neutrality laws, there’s nothing stopping ISPs from throttling traffic to your favorite sites, so that one day, you may have a crystal clear path to Netflix, but opening up your local online newspaper or that Mommy Blog you can’t get enough of may remind you of the old days of dial-up service.
This is why anti-monopoly laws exist. It’s too bad they have no teeth, and the FCC is a bunch of weak-willed ninnies.
Capitalism at its worst.
internet jokes come and go but bad fanfiction is eternal
you may even say bad fanfiction is