A highly respected colleague recommended to me that my book project may be better suited for today’s audience if I packaged it as a series of blog posts. When my friend suggests, I listen—he is a globally recognized expert in the stuff I can only find time to dabble in. He is a prolific blogger and is very heavy into twitter and facebook—social media in general —to deliver his thoughts and market his brand to the masses. And he is very successful by all accounts.
His position is valid. People do not have (a) the time; (b) the patience or attention span; or (c) the bandwidth to fully digest a book-length publication.
Have we truly devolved into a fast-food culture (let’s not call it “civilization”) all the way around? Am I really that old-fashioned to refuse to hit the drive-through window on this project? Just in case you’re asking…am I hypocritical to be blogging right now? ANSWER: NO… been doing this for several years, it’s a great way to hammer out young ideas and give them a test drive until they’re workable.
Carl Sagan felt the same way I do—may he rest in peace, hopefully in a place where he has found there to be truly intelligent life. He died in 1996 at only 62 years old. Probably saw what was coming in the decade ahead and said “screw this, I’m checking out before it gets too ugly”. From Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark first published a year before he died:
“I have a foreboding of an America in my children’s or grandchildren’s time — when the United States is a service and information economy; when nearly all the manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries; when awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few, and no one representing the public interest can even grasp the issues; when the people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority; when, clutching our crystals and nervously consulting our horoscopes, our critical faculties in decline, unable to distinguish between what feels good and what’s true, we slide, almost without noticing, back into superstition and darkness…
The dumbing down of America is most evident in the slow decay of substantive content in the enormously influential media, the 30 second sound bites (now down to 10 seconds or less), lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.”
Witness all the really rich rednecks created by reality TV: Duck Dynasty, Swamp People and on and on….Carl, it would be extremely easy to rest your case today.