Jon Pareles wrote a sweeping commentary on the state of culture and self expression in the 21st century.
A couple standouts:
In utopian terms the great abundance of self-expression puts an end to the old, supposedly wrongheaded gatekeeping mechanisms: hit-driven recording companies, hidebound movie studios, timid broadcast radio stations, trend-seeking media coverage. But toss out those old obstacles to creativity and, lo and behold, people begin to crave a new set of filters.
True. The inevitability of beaurocracy is slightly depressing. One point of light though is the fact that since a new path is available, it requires innovation and originality, which for better or for worse, allow for plenty of artistic change. Beaurocracy can’t go away, but the individual experience can transform in any old way.
User-generated content — turning the audience into the auteur — isn’t exactly an online innovation. It’s as old as “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” or letters to the editor, or community sings, or Talmudic commentary, or graffiti.
Just a really great point. It’s just an openness to conversation, the idea that a response has implicit validation with the public.
Selection, a time-consuming job, has been outsourced. What’s growing is the plentitude not just of user-generated content, but also of user-filtered content.
This is sort of creepy, that in an attempt to circumvent the monster we may actually be feeding it.
Mouse-clicking individuals can be as tasteless, in the aggregate, as entertainment professionals.
Something I noticed a long time ago. The democratization that the internet allows just means that all the crap can succeed. It turns out that people like the crap.
The songs on music blogs are chosen not by companies desperate for profit, but by individuals with time to spare, and if the choices often seem a little, well, geeky — indie rock, with a side of underground hip-hop, seems to be the overwhelming choice of music bloggers — who but a geek would be spending all that time at a computer?
And this is absolutely hilarious.