Shouting Down a Well

Gee, spend one little day traveling and the blogosphere goes a wee bit bonkers over some article in the New York Times about how some professors seem to think that student use of email is hastening the end times. And my pal meg winds up with an inbox full of vitriol, not to mention having to spend a day convincing our fellow academic bloggers that she’s not a power-mad despot in technophile’s clothing.

People, please! Repeat after me:

First, the small point: the much maligned “mainstream media” got maligned for a reason. Have any of you, EVER, been quoted accurately in the newspaper? Really accurately?

Second, the bigger one: no one heavily invested in an older media institution can analyze the workings of a newer media form objectively. The anxiety of obsolescence that all media change breeds makes it impossible for such analysis to be carried out innocently, without an agenda driven by the desire to promote the virtues of the older form at the expense of the newer. Any argument in print about the ways that electronic communication is leading us all down the primrose path really needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

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