Here at the end of the first decade of the new millennium, it is time to take stock. I view the decade of 9/11 as an historical airlock—a chance to purge from our lungs the excess carbon dioxide of having to live up to the selflessness of the “Greatest Generation” and down to the boot-strapping grit of those who survived the “Great Depression” and suck up the fresh O2 of grossly romanticized and overly self-congratulatory social fantasies of our own. We have earned that right—nay, that responsibility– at the cost of some who will not be making the trip with us—some who, because they refused to believe that their air supply was finite or simply chose to remain in the ocean and spend their final hours enjoying the view, got the bends and died. Travel back with me one more time. Say so long to those we have lost and hello to those who have taken their place.
Goodbye Reputation . . . Hello Personal Brand.
There was a time when one burnished one’s reputation to avoid being talked about. Of course let’s face it. When was the last time someone good flip his good name for enough money to spend the rest of his days playing World of Warcraft through a laptop perched on the perfectly rounded ass of an 18 year old supermodel?
Goodbye Privacy . . . Hello Privation.
The more we as individuals feed the Econometrisaurus, the less able we become to express ourselves as individuals. On the other hand, isn’t the prospect of every big business on the planet having access to your entire personal, financial and social life pretty insignificant in exchange for the occasional tasty virtual cupcake?
Goodbye Knowledge . . . Hello Righteous Indignation.
What we see here is the law of supply and demand. The broadest and most comprehensive access to information since Eve abused the conditions of her library card, has apparently rendered that information valueless. It’s now more important to live in the world that we feel—the world where the Pilgrims rose as one, through Tea in the Harbor to protest Lame Duck sessions and abstracted the Constitution word-for-word from the Book of Leviticus. What else do we need to know?
Speaking of Knowledge . . .
Goodbye Lecture Hall . . . Hello Internet Café.
“Why does this idiot keep droning on and on while I am trying to distract myself from all of the money I am paying for this useless degree? Yeah, I know the lectures are online, but they are long and boring and no one smashes his nuts falling off a bike. And while we’re on the subject, how did I get a D on my paper? I should have earned an Adult Content or at least a Mature.”
Goodbye Jobs . . . Hello Unpaid Internships
Don’t get me wrong. I am a big fan of unpaid internships. We get dozens for our students every semester. They give you valuable real-life experience, and you meet professional contacts who will be instrumental in helping you not get the jobs that would have been available at graduation had they not been filled by this semester’s unpaid interns!
Goodbye Seasons . . . Hello Seasons.
A season of scripted television used to be 30 shows. Then it went down to 24, then 22. Now in many cases its down to around 10. From the programers’ perspective, this makes perfect sense. Why try to charge someone $50 for one season of 24 shows, when charge $30 each for two seasons of ten? Heck that’s a savings of $20 for every season you buy! Buy three short seasons and you would have saved more than enough money to buy a whole season–of there were any for sale!
Goodbye Programs . . . Hello Apps!
Let’s face it, computers had started really just getting in the way. They are production machines in a consumer culture. Why go to all of the trouble to dumb computing technology down to the level of chimps then insist that that install their own banana trees? The marketplace now knows more about what we want than we do (see privacy and privation above), so it only makes sense to streamline the process of delivery. Got a problem with that? Feel that tension building up? Just sling a few angry birds at the pig fortress. Works for me.
You get the drift. There are many more, and there is a comment button below. What will you miss and what has taken it’s place?