The Conversation

The sea of knowledge

In response to The Internet and the Decline of the Post's News Monopoly:

I hope the Washington Post pulls through.  More content is always better, from every part of the spectrum.  In terms of the great online debate, healthy competition on both sides is better for both sides.  It is best to suppress any twinge of schadenfraude * we might feel at the poor fortunes of any ideological competitor, because that would probably signal waning interest in your side as well.  We all benefit from keen reader interest in the Great National Discussion, after all.  A rising tide on the sea of knowledge lifts all boats.

It's interesting to note the lightning speed of both information and disinformation.  Perhaps my generation will be the last to remember what a time-consuming pain in the butt research used to be, even when you just wanted a simple fact about Zaire to mention in passing, let alone needed copious data about a highly contentious topic.  I'll never forgot how, as a college student, I felt light-headed the first time I stuffed a Microsoft Encarta CD into the caddy of my external CD-ROM drive and realized I had an entire encyclopedia at my fingertips.  Sometimes it makes me sad that people can't seem to do more with the incredible knowledge the Internet puts at all of our fingertips (even on our phones!  How miraculous is that?) 

But I'm cheered by knowing that are doing plenty, and I keep having delightful little moments of discovery when I remember some question - trivial or profound - that always bothered me as a child, and realize I can now instantly discover the answer.

* Schadenfraude must be suppressed, but on the other hand, Schraderbrau should always be indulged.


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