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Self Parody at Carr Central

June 2, 2010 9:11:51.337

No, Nick Carr can't get off this easy:

Warning: the first idiot who writes a comment on this post pointing out the "irony" of its links will be tracked down, tortured, and shot.

In discussing reaction to his piece on links and attention span, he pretty much had to link to other people - what's a discussion otherwise?

The part of this I find amusing is this: Carr seems to think that the web will destroy long form, immersive reading. Excuse me? When was there a huge amount of that going on anyway? Long form reading is (and always has been) engaged in by a fairly small number of people. This supposed golden age of media that Carr seems to yearn for never existed. Most newspapers prior to the mid 20th century were openly biased scandal sheets; there was a brief confluence of technology that allowed a few people (like Carr, it seems) to believe that journalists were some new class of objective uber-men, able to convey the news to us poor heathens in a pure form.

What hasn't occurred to Carr is this: stuff on the net is one form of writing, consumed in a particular way. Books are a different form of writing, consumed in another. Some people prefer one over the other, just as there were plenty of people back in the 80's who preferred "People" to "The Wall Street Journal".

There's no "winner" or "loser" here; there's just a new form of writing and reading. Maybe Carr can't consume books like he used to; that sounds like a personal problem. As you can see here, I haven't run across that problem, and I'm pretty heavily immersed in this whole internet thing.

Overall, I think Mathew Ingram has Carr pegged pretty well.

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posted by James Robertson

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