I grew up in a chaotic household. Television ordered my attention and gave it flow. Family life couldn't. This is one reason I study media.
I grew up in a household that was at times less than stable; attention has never been one of my strengths, other than the occasional attention I have paid in the past to things like computers and Rubik's Cubes. Hell, many of the important things I have learned in life were learned from Sesame Street, and I take great enjoyment now from sitting down with my son and learning about the world of polar bears and four-winged dinosaurs from Nova. I can't imagine a world without this influence. Marshall McLuhan described the television as being like a "bomb in the classroom", and I believe this to be apt on multiple levels.
In this week's "Rebooting the News" podcast with Dave Winer, Jay discusses his inspiration for the week, Marshall McLuhan. "The subject may require you to go very far afield," he comments on McLuhan. "Marshall McLuhan was willing to see the destruction of the world he preferred, which was that of the literate man..."
@davewiner: Dave Winer created a prototype for what has become the blogosphere, and has said some pretty profound things also. What struck a chord with me recently was the idea that, like a wire service, the internet can provide us with a "river of news" into which we can dip to keep abreast of current affairs. "Perhaps the river of news is omniscient," he wonders in last week's "Rebooting the News" podcast.
I have personally spent so much of my life dealing with the anxiety that something is happening somewhere, and that I am missing it. The twitter paradigm, for want of a better phrase, seems to be that the online world has become broad enough that if a meme needs to find you, it will circulate until it does. This is not just cold comfort.
Like journalism, the face of literature is changing, as the media through which these are transmitted are changing. If you aren't following the Rebooting the News podcast, do so. It's become a high point in my week, and I strongly recommend you start rebooting.
Marshall McLuhan steps outside his frame of reference, and Woody Allen pulls him back in.