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Saturday, March 9, 2013

Maureen Dowd, "As Time Goes Bye": For Whom the Bell Tolls

Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.


- John Donne

In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "As Time Goes Bye" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/opinion/sunday/as-time-goes-bye.html), Maureen Dowd reminisces over her prior employment at Time Magazine and reflects upon this journal's imminent demise:

"Even then, it struck me that newsmagazines were doomed, with the strange bifurcation of reporters who were not allowed to write and writers who were not allowed to report. I reckoned the genre had a few years at most. When Time named the computer the Machine of the Year for 1982, we were still writing on typewriters.

. . . .

It will be good if this moment provokes a reckoning about what really needs to be preserved in the culture, about what is valuable.

. . . .

Digital platforms are worthless without content. They’re shiny sacks with bells and whistles, but without content, they’re empty sacks."

Is it only Time Magazine facing its end, or is it much of the publishing industry? What about newspapers? What about books? As a society do we still read, or are we preoccupied with Facebook and narcissistic indulgence?

What "really needs to be preserved in the culture"? Can or should government make that choice?

Can "content" save a newspaper? More specifically, can the current leftist cant of The New York Times, combined with digital subscriptions and its dalliance with anti-Semitism, save it from extinction? Could its loyalty to the Obama administration ultimately win it some sort of bail out?

Have we become a society without "substance," having elected a know-nothing president with an electric smile, who has surrounded himself with a cabinet comprising the worst and the dumbest?

Sorry to be grim, but that bell is tolling for all of us. As for that which will emerge from the ashes, it is not at all apparent to me.

3 comments:

  1. Strong piece Jeff. We're undermining the fabric of thought with super-vacuous chat gibberish and vanities. These are driven, governed by a bland veneer of rules that determine what is and isn't politically correct.
    So Obama is truly the man of the moment: super-vacuous, hollow, governing the 57 states he has toured with his veneer-speak. Will a leader emerge who is not a Facebook-type nonentity? Hard to say. Things look bleak right now.

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  2. Strong piece Jeff. We're undermining the fabric of thought with super-vacuous chat gibberish and vanities, fashions of utterance. These are driven, governed by a bland veneer of
    rules that determine what is and isn't politically correct.

    So Obama is truly the man of the moment: super-vacuous, hollow, governing the "57 states" he has toured with his veneer-speak. Will a eader emerge who is not a Facebook-type nonentity? Hard to say. Things look bleak right now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Have we become a society without "substance," having elected a know-nothing president with an electric smile, who has surrounded himself with a cabinet comprising the worst and the dumbest?"
      Yes, we have. And the evolution was predictable. I knew it the moment I saw "managers" with their "team-working, positivity and strategic planning" entering American non-profit sector and destroying it.
      Not so long ago the NYT had a happy article: "It's wonderful, new curators at the most prestigious institutions in New York, formerly known for their scholarship, are not scholars - they are young, pretty, smiling, schmoozing, texting, etc. Not a single one has a Ph.D. The boards love them. Isn't this wonderful?"
      I started to offer my wisdom already in the early 1990s: "In the former FSU, a good communist could one year be a minister of culture and another - minister of agriculture. In the present U.S. a good manager (the one who squeezes well) can one day be a CEO of a steel plant, and another a CEO of a university or hospital.
      There are consequences for madness.
      When you declare that knowledge doesn't matter and that only individuals with "transferable skills," such as a perfect smiling, looking into eyes and hand shaking are of value, prepare for disaster.

      Delete