Wednesday, May 20, 2009
An article in the WSJ by Carl Bialik about the web2.0 obsession with joining the crowd, reminded me of this old picture of Bob and Joan. One of Bialik's points is that popularity is self-enhancing and self-perpetuating; more than 40 years ago Daniel Boorstin (a Librarian of Congress, among other things) defined celebrity as a person known for his well-knownness. Bialik also notes that popularity and merit/importance are not the same thing - that's pretty obvious too, and it grows truer day by day. But what I find...arresting...is the statement by one Professor Sagalnik; "If we view the role of cultural products as giving us something to talk about, then the most important thing might be that everyone sees the same thing and not what the thing is."