Saturday, February 23, 2008

Not So New But Noteworthy

I've had three tabs open all week, intending to blog about each of them. Now it's Saturday, so it's time for rapid-fire.

Charles McGrath, "Is PBS Still Necessary?":

Argument: PBS's ratings are declining, cable is ascendant, and the public network doesn't compete in prime-time.
My counter-argument: Not everyone has cable, jack, and lots of channels don't do so well in prime-time, especially arts, culture, and science channels on cable. We need PBS to have strong programming all day long, when networks take a bath and where it does pretty well.
Big idea: Public radio, both NPR and PRI, have been more innovative than PBS and have actually gained audience because of it. So PBS needs to try more innovation.

Scott Horton, "Jonah's Fascism": Everyone's taken a crack at Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism, but few people are in the position to be as systematic as Scott Horton, aka the most culturally and historically informed political blogger on the web.

Mark Bernstein, "NeoVictorian Computing": Bernstein calls for a revival of "personal computing," taking the 19th-century Arts and Crafts movement as a model. Exposed joints, handicrafts, and an emphasis on objects and software designed to get things done. It's more a chain of insightful critiques than a full-fledged program, but as someone who spends a lot of time thinking about historical analogues to our digital moment, this is a very useful and potentially fruitful strand to follow.

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