Crack a Window

“For me everything starts with appreciating that we are in Schumpeterian Moment. A lot of things we know and love are going to be destroyed, but a lot of wonderful new things will be created. In a meaningful way, I believe the Schumpeterian moment offers a personality test that will tell young people if journalism and media are for them.. If a student looks at our current news ecosystem and sees promise, excitement and energizing challenge then the media world is for them. If they look at that same ecosystem and rue the loss of what we had and see only doom approaching, that person needs to exit the media world quickly.” T.J. McGuire

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Inigo Montoya

“A new medium is never an addition to an old one, nor does it leave the old one in peace. It never ceases to oppress the older media until it finds new shapes and positions for them.” Marshall McLuhan

Today we work forward from Professor McLuhan’s most famous quote, “I don’t necessarily agree with everything I say.”

Not so long ago there were no end of blogs. There were so many blogs that the posts about what people had for lunch, their cats, and what their cats had for lunch were enough to blacken the noonday sky. Back in those heady days a goodly many blogs lived and died running posts which revolved around an article which had either so inspired or outraged that a blogger had no choice but to sit down and write.

This came about after the following:

1. Reading the entire article.

2. Reading about half the article and becoming outraged or inspired.

3. Reading about one-third what some one else wrote about the article and becoming etc etc.
3a. Reading about one-quarter of what some one else wrote without bothering the check the source material and then becoming etc etc.

4. Some combination of the above.

Today we’ll be dabbling in all those as we consider Mr. McGuire’s attempt to reduce a dead Austrian economist to an adjective. (See the quote above.)

Well, or we’ll be focusing on the style in which it was written as I really don’t understand a word of what he said and while we’re at it let me throw in this disclaimer: long ago and far away I was no stranger to throwing up some half-ass’d tome about some Talk of the Town piece, but at least I knew where I was going … OK sort of. At least I tried to confine myself not so much to what was said but how it was said. In this case it’s the Schumpeterian hyperbole that’s a bit grating. Actual content aside – the overall tone here suggests nothing more than Isadora Duncan jamming dirty urchins into togas and pushing them into a field of daisies so they could romp to the Fourth Movement of the Ninth Symphony.

And there you go.

What’s disturbing in all this is that you’d think I’d be able to better address all this given that I was once roundly beaten over the head with The Austrian School. What was supposed to be a an easy three hours of comparative economics turned out to be a nightmare. The man who taught the class had a personality that suggested a lifelong diet of nothing more than hardtack and cheese. Had he taken his hairsplitting over the differences between socialism and communism to The First COMINTERN Zinoviev himself would have told him to take out into the hall. He managed to take what was supposed to be a thumbnail sketch of von Mises and stretch it on the rack. His attention to Schumpeter was no different. The whole thing left me so steeped in angst that I still have nightmares about that class. At least the Austrians would be pleased that McGuire’s not taking a statistical approach to the problem as they didn’t have much use for that sort of thing. The article does confine itself to the ideas and notions about the changing nature of media and the non-quantifiable ways people act upon information.

Wanna know something?

Worrying about how people will consume information in the very near future is so 2009. Back then people would come to us, cry on our shoulders, and loudly demand answers. They looked at me strangely when I said, “You got used to cable tv didn’t you? You managed to figure that there was life beyond four or five channels for yourself, right? What makes this any different?” Today those same people tell me how they take the iPad to bed. (Personally I prefer a heating pad, but oh well…) In short order they figured it out and they’re none too worried. OK that’s anecdotal which would make it non-statistical and therefore at least living up to the spirit of the Austrians and that means we’ve come full circle and must end.

As a side note: I have abandoned FB once and for all. Instead I shall attempt to blog some more as that’s where I’ve long felt the most comfortable. But please make no mistake – this doesn’t mean that I have left FB quietly and that I won’t be making trouble for those who remain. Why in the next planned post alone there’s Althusser, the Zapatistas, and Occupy Movement put in a neat little row just to scare the piss out of all those Farmville cows!

Join us then, won’t you?


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