Flutterby™! : What we do

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What we do

2008-04-28 18:01:34.872604+00 by Dan Lyke 2 comments

A couple of disconnected notes. The first is the usual disheartening observation from a semi-local elementary school talent show, made by a friend: The white kids all think talent is lip-sync to some pop music, the non-Caucasians think it's playing Beethoven on the piano or violin.

The second is that yesterday I went to the hardware store and the bike store, and in the process walked through an antique fair. One of the vendors was selling a "soap box derby" car. A few decades ago, a town like this would generate a surplus of 20-30 of those a year, now they're a collectible.

Which brings me to Clay Shirky: Gin, Television and Social Surplus:

So I tell her all this stuff, and I think, "Okay, we're going to have a conversation about authority or social construction or whatever." That wasn't her question. She heard this story and she shook her head and said, "Where do people find the time?" That was her question. And I just kind of snapped. And I said, "No one who works in TV gets to ask that question. You know where the time comes from. It comes from the cognitive surplus you've been masking for 50 years."

I'm not sure what I think about Shirky's assertion yet, but it's worth pondering.

[ related topics: Children and growing up Music Technology and Culture Television Fabrication ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2008-04-28 20:35:25.113357+00 by: andylyke

I recall an elementary school talent show in the early 1980s in a fairly well heeled town in southwestern Connecticut, where some of the kids did "air guitar" and others did classic music on violin or 'cello, and the parents (note - parents, not kids!!!) went overwhelmingly for the air guitar.

the simple fact is that we're doomed. I'll get pessimistic some other time.

#Comment Re: made: 2008-04-28 21:15:14.196445+00 by: meuon

The current trend of "musician" games like Rock Band are following this trend. I showed someone my nice Midi keyboard a while ago, they asked: why do you want to play the real thing compared to "Rock Band". Sigh.

As for cognitive surplus. I no longer understand why shows like "Lost" are popular, it's all so unrealistic. Which reminds me, I gotta take my cable box back. summer is here and Nancy and I are both too busy to watch much normal TV. I'll suffer from "How it's made" withdrawal for a while. Besides, my 42" 1080p screen gets used more as a PC monitor than a TV nowadays.