Interview with Clay Shirky, Part I : CJR:

Interview with Clay Shirky, Part I : CJR:.

“You know, “Life was better when I was younger” is always an acceptable narrative. Right? And so for anybody who was brought up genuflecting to the literary culture and the virtues of reading Tolstoy—and essentially Tolstoy is a trope in these things, War and Peace is the longest novel in the sort of Euro-centric canon—you could always make the argument that the present is worse than the past by simply pointing to the virtues of the past. And so, what the Web does is that it does what all amateur increases do, which is it decreases the average quality of what’s available. It is exactly, precisely, the complaint made about the printing press. So, the only thing surprising about the Web, in a way, is that it’s been a long time since we’ve had a medium that increased the amount of production of written material this dramatically.

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