Or How I Didn’t Learn How To Keep Quiet
It begins, like all things. Fizzing like champagne on a poorly tuned TV, the sound hissing like an’ olde radio you had to stick a coat hanger in the back of – holding it just so – to get anything audible. And it begins. Here. With. Annoying. Fragments… And with one of my favourite quotes from Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.
“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one!” – Charles Mackay
And then for the one sentiment in The Cult of the Amateur that really resonates…
“In the pre-Internet age, T. H. Huxley’s scenario of infinite monkeys empowered with infinite technology seemed more like a mathematical jest than a dystopian vision. But what had once appeared as a joke now seems to foretell the consequences of a flattening of culture that is blurring the lines between traditional audience and author, creator and consumer, expert and amateur. This is no laughing matter.
Today’s technology hooks all those monkeys up with all those typewriters. Except in our Web 2.0 world, the typewriters aren’t quite typewriters, but rather networked personal computers, and the monkeys aren’t quite monkeys, but rather Internet users. And instead of creating masterpieces, these millions and millions of exuberant monkeys — many with no more talent in the creative arts than our primate cousins — are creating an endless digital forest of mediocrity. For today’s amateur monkeys can use their networked computers to publish everything from uninformed political commentary, to unseemly home videos, to embarrassingly amateurish music, to unreadable poems, reviews, essays and novels.” – Andrew Keen
This is the ending which was begging to be written. The pioneers have been washed out/away as the tide of the mainstream finally drifted in like a bore and when it goes out again there will be nothing but empty shopping trolleys, Michael Jackson clutching his nose and one stray Cobain Converse, complete with Nike swoosh. In an age of so much swift change, a time when everything is already free, where freedom comes waving its dirty webbed finger; it’s time to realise it’s not just the foundations of them monoliths being chopped at, it’s what we hold dear from how it’s invested in to who we can trust to find it.
So, it is cards on the table time, am stacking mine like pyramids, one atop the other.
And so it goes…