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Sunday, March 08, 2009

If not you who ? If not now when ? If not as a comment here how ?

Bruce Webb has left a new comment on your post "Homeless Man With Cell Phone Searching for someth...":

Robert someone should write a post about the paradox of communication and content in the 21st century.

I am struck when watching footage from overseas whether that be Africa or Asia that cell phones are almost ubiquitous in even the poorest neighborhoods. And while I suspect they don't have the same data plan I have in my iPhone we are not that far away from a world where remote villages and slums don't have access to secure food supplies or clean water but via a solar powered communal TV and a crank up PC have access to information from around the world.

Europe has a project to put all of its greatest cultural resources online and many government and major research libraries are committed to getting as much of their collections online as well.

Is this heaven or hell? I mean it is somewhat hellish to think of some Sudanese kid orphaned by rebels and hoping that the UN aid people will return one day still being able to wander the virtual halls of the Louvre and browse the stacks at the L of C. On the other hand I am on the verge of selling my 2 BR condo (in which I live alone) with plans to move to a small studio. Because as long as I have access to high-speed internet, a microwave, and a refrigerator my needs are pretty much met.

Part of this is a desire to get a little more green and reduce my carbon footprint, but a lot of it is because I don't need to have eight book shelves double stacked with books anymore, or a record collection, or racks of floppy drives, or boxes of pictures, and I can save a bunch of green by not having to set aside living space for such things.

Given the economy I too might end up living out of my car, but one way or another I will still have access to the internet. We seem to be entering an era where all things are flipped. Once only the wealthy could afford fine art and books and travel, these days those may all the poor can afford going forwards (admittedly the travel being virtual).

Alternative title -- "George Orwell Might Say."

Some decades ago, during the great depression, Orwell noted that poor people in his day didn't have access to necessities, but they did have access to luxuries. Said luxuries included Hollywood films and carryout junk food.

We've gotten used to the idea that people who watch actors on tv and eat in McDonald's aren't necessarily rich. Even the idiot conservatives among us will get used to the idea that people will cell phones aren't necessarily rich some time soon.

2nd alternative title:
When rdan finds out that you have been writing posts as comments here you're gonna be in trouble.

1 comment:

PeeDee said...

I think it was on DeLong's blog that he quoted Agatha Christie saying that when she was young she never imagined that she'd be rich enough to own a motorcar, nor poor enough not to have servants...