The End of Civilization As We Know It
A few days ago Samir Husni posted a selection of a lecture given by Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author. For the record, I completely disagree with most of what he said. Perhaps he and Samir were drinking from the same Kool-Aid dispenser before the lecture. I do wish I had been in the audience to ask a few simple and logical questions.
I don't believe that the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist "gets it," and I will bet he doesn't have a Twitter page or a blog. The end of printed newspapers is not the end of civilization as we know it. It is not the end of "civic and public responsibility." Quite the contrary. The World Wide Web is filled with serious writers, an amazing knowledge base, and on-the-scene, real-time reporters. Sure, some of it is junk or slanted or partisan. So what? So are many printed papers. Yellow journalism, which still exists, was invented in print, not on the Web.
Mr. Hedges' comments about you, my digital readers, is also nothing but fanciful fear-mongering—perhaps to sell his books? I wonder if his book is sold on Amazon? Is there a Kindle version? His statement that you are "the intellectual poverty of our post-literate world" is at best insulting. Do you feel post-literate? Do you think your children are post-literate? I do not. The current generation is just as capable as any other and perhaps more so. The tools that we all have available are staggering and being put to good use on a minute-by-minute basis.
There was vibrant, intelligent life before newspapers, and there will be life after the death of print newspapers. Knowledge is a very powerful elixir, and it is more available to a wider range of the public than ever before. The notion that only the "print journalists" have the moral right, the authority, or the wisdom to be the sole proprietors of knowledge and its distribution is absurd.