Thursday, December 16, 2010

OLD WAYS. There's a lot you could say against Time's selection of Mark Zuckerberg as Person of the Year. (This isn't bad.) And then there's what Michael Knox Beran says:
Electronic community has its virtues, but the morbid craving for it evident in the success of Facebook reveals the degree to which actual community has collapsed in much of the West. A multitude of causes have brought the civilization closer to Tocqueville’s prophecy of the last democratic man, shut up in “the solitude of his own heart,” but among these the war a number of our elites have waged against traditional town-square culture is surely not the least.
I'll spare you, but will note that modern architecture, atheism, welfare, and public education are apparently the weapons these elites used to destroy our communities, condemning us to the social simulacrum that is Facebook. It's like The Matrix, and we may think of Beran as the Red Pill.

Someone should alert the Tea Party people that if they really want to save America, they'll abandon wicked social media and call their meetings exclusively by cowbell and hold them by the horse troughs.

UPDATE. Some interesting comments defending Beran's basic proposition, in whole or in part. I can see that the thing people like to call the public square is not what it was. I've written about related phenomena myself. But when you talk about elites as the culprit, I have to ask who you think they are. This is America, and like most of what's good or bad about us, money is involved, and before money condenses as a social force it moves around as an exchange mechanism. Before it's Big Money, in other words, it's our money, and though few of us get a vote on what banks and corporations do with it after they get it, most of us agreed to give it to them. And if we were under some pressure to do so, it wasn't Le Corbusier so much as The Joneses that exerted it.

This would make corporatism a better target than whatever shadowy cabal of progressives Beran means by "the elite." But in the end, if we're hanging out less on bocce courts or at county fairs than on Facebook, and we don't like it, we have mainly ourselves to blame.

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