Sunday, February 8, 2009
One of my favorite publications has dived into the 21st century. The Atlantic Monthly has created an online community to gather people around the big questions of our time. With a collection of short films and clips from the magazine itself, the Atlantic's Think Again campaign has a bit of Hollywood indie flair in the presentation. Part of me is seduced by the branding. The grittier photography, the hand held camera shots at odd angles, but nonetheless, it brings a little of street and edge back to the internet. A recording of how we see ourselves now, of what we want, of what believe to be citizens now.
Sometimes I fear that in that I'm losing brain cells and intellectual curiosity in the daily routines of life. We have lost precision in our language. We repeat the same assortment of words to draw out an idea that eventually loses meaning and doesn't challenge us to elevate the conversation beyond our initial experience.
Personally, I don't think the internet, google or wikipedia makes us stupid. The innovation of lightening speed access to information killed the utility of the Dewey decimal system and public libraries have suffered because of it. But the power to discern the relevance of information gathered by the internet still lies within the individual. We are responsible for ourselves. If google leads you to a source of information, isn't it your responsibility and curiosity that will ultimately prompt you to dig deeper? Information mass produced is about as American as apple pie and McDonald's french fries. Curiosity is human. I'm going to remember that.