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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Is it a coincidence?

Is it a coincidence Is it a coincidencethat at the very moment our world is saturated in visual media — a recent study found that children gaze at screens on their TVs, computers, and mobile devices an average of six or more hours a day — we are also seeing a devaluing of the expertise needed to understand the intricacies of that media? Is it coincidence that the gig economy arrived at a time when we champion how the internet has given everyone a voice and a platform, an internet filled with millions of content-creators — like that lovely woman and her Chewbacca mask — all working for free? Is it coincidence or the result of decades of micro-erosions of a labor force and the creation of a hope economy?
Well, it might be. We know this is not my favorite lazy-ass trope anyway. I fail to see what the exact relation being posited here is. The "is it a coincidence" is a favorite of pop culture scholars, because they always want to find some correspondence between two things without actually proving their point. You are supposed to answer by saying that no, it isn't a coincidence, and therefore there is a causal relation or hidden connection there. But what if there isn't?

I love "the very moment." How spurious is that? It isn't something that happens in a single moment, but two things happening in tandem over the course of many years. But "at the very moment" seems to assert something much stronger.

Look, we are all experts on popular culture. Even those of us who are not think we are. Most people, including most journalists covering the subject, are not going to defer to academic expertise. The entire argument has me thinking that they made their own bed, let them lie in it. If you write abstruse articles behind fire walls don't expect pop journalists to come knocking.

The condescension here is enormous. Do we really need people to explain to us the intricacies of the new media? If the article had a single good example of a cogent analysis that would help us to understand all of this, better than some lame-ass journalistic explanation, it would be nice.

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