In this morning's Observer, David Smith has a hilarious piece portraying me as the Briton who is challenging the web's endless cacophony. Enough already! I've apparently decreed:
But early copies have become a rallying point for dissenters with nagging doubts about the revolution of blogs, wikis, social networking sites and podcasts.
It would be nice, of course, if Smith was correct and I'd become the Pope Paul III of the digital counter reformation. But I'm not sure if digital dissenters really need a papal rallying point. The problem is that just as the digital revolution is challenging many of our most cherished political, cultural and economic principles, so its resistance is emerging from a broad variety of sources -- in philosophy, marketing, technology and literature.
I'm currently reading Benjamin Barber's excellent Consumed: How markets corrupt children, infantilize adults and swallow citizens whole. In a broader and more academic context, Barber makes the same arguments as I make in my book. Barber notes the descent of our culture into a free market induced narcissism in which we are what wear or drive or drink. It's but a short step from Consumed to The Cult of the Amateur. In the Web 2.0 world, our brands are personalized and transformed into channels. We are what we broadcast ourselves to be. Thus the infantilized nature of the blogosphere. Thus its corruption of democratic politics and traditional notions of citizenship.
Journalists are also waking up to the absurdity of Web 2.0 economic utopianism. In a sharply incisive commentary on CNN Money, Jim Ledbetter debunks the "theory" of abundance. As Ledbetter argues, the "economics of abudance" is less of a serious theory and more like the wishful thinking of Hayekian libertarians like Chris Anderson. Ledbetter wickedly suggests that digital cornucopian logic has "a short tail":
No matter what the Internet has enabled, abundance and scarcity continue to duke it out in a variety of arenas across the globe, and will do so, I predict, at least until I get a ten-hour-a-week job as a robot repairman.
Then there's Loren Feldman of 1938 Media, the charismatic videographer fighting from the trenches against the Web 2.0 hordes. Loren was in typically hilarious form earlier this week revealing the infantilized whining of Jason Calcanis about giving interviews to traditional media.
Benjamin Barber, Jim Ledbetter, Loren Feldman (not to mention the incomparable La Strumpetta), united as dissenters against the cacophony, united in saying enough already!