Thursday, July 10, 2014

US History 1973 - 2014 Commonplace Book: Lecture 17, The Culture Wars of the Early 90s

Where appropriate I employ the term "Tabloid Nation," which I did not originate, to categorize media firestorms such as those surrounding the Gulf War, the O.J. trial, and Monica Lewinsky.... When really important news took place, such as presidential dalliances with interns, electronic avalanches overwhelmed the populace. It remains true today and will be event truer tomorrow that never before have there been so many ways of acquiring information. Yet enough time has already passed to make it clear that the multiplication electronic outlets does not lead to a better-informed public, except in the area of celebrity gossip where giant strides have been made. While everyone knows more than any human being should about the failings of Britney Spears, the percentage of Americans who don't believe in evolution, who think the sun revolves around the earth, or who cannot find Iraq on a map remains huge.... The irony of Tabloid Nation is that we are all wired, all digital, all the time, learning more and more about less and less, a legacy that has been a long time building but never more so than now. The nineties offer many distressing examples of this.

—William L. O'Neill, A Bubble in Time: America During the Interwar Years, 1989-2001 (2009)
Introduction to (and explanation of) this quote series can be found here.  Read this tag to see all of them.

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