Monday, March 8, 2010

Internet Matters

This morning I was listening to last week's Tony Kornheiser Show podcasts. He opened his March 2 show with a conversation about the possibility that the United States Postal Service will discontinue Saturday mail delivery. He ends the lengthy diatribe with this:

"You could replace the word postal service with the word newspaper business and have the same conversation. None of them (newspapers) will be here in ten years. I understand that I'm part of a generation that's dying, and I don't want to do this stuff on-line because of my vague distrust of the Internet. Though I buy things on-line occasionally, I bemoan the fact that I buy things on-line. A hundred years from now, somebody is going to write that the Internet is second only to fire in changing the culture. You would think it's the airplane or the telephone. No, no, no, no, no. It's going to be the Internet. The Internet is having the most profound social changes (many for ill, in terms of the social discourse)...but the changes are astonishing!"

No more than five minutes later, I came across a 1995 Newsweek article - "The Internet? Bah!" One of the many entertaining lines from the column:

"The truth is no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works... The Internet is one big ocean of unedited data, without any pretense of completeness. Lacking editors, reviewers or critics, the Internet has become a wasteland of unfiltered data."

I'm enjoying the irony...

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