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March 15, 2009

Society doesn’t need newspapers. What we need is journalism.

Clay Shirky addresses all too thinkable technological change as newspapers meet the internet and go splat. The underlying logic of the problem - or rather, the underlying logic of denying the problem - is applicable to so much more than paper and ink.

Revolutions create a curious inversion of perception. In ordinary times, people who do no more than describe the world around them are seen as pragmatists, while those who imagine fabulous alternative futures are viewed as radicals. The last couple of decades haven’t been ordinary, however. Inside the papers, the pragmatists were the ones simply looking out the window and noticing that the real world was increasingly resembling the unthinkable scenario. These people were treated as if they were barking mad. Meanwhile the people spinning visions of popular walled gardens and enthusiastic micropayment adoption, visions unsupported by reality, were regarded not as charlatans but saviors.

When reality is labeled unthinkable, it creates a kind of sickness in an industry.

Substitute "country" for "industry" and you have Canada's body politic. And much of the West, for that matter.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at March 15, 2009 05:53 AM