Nicholas Carr has posted a fine critique of Clay Shirky's "Gin, Television and the Social Surplus" talk/theory (see earlier post for context) on his blog. Excerpt:
Did my friends and I watch Gilligan's Island? You bet your ass we did - and thoroughly enjoyed it (though with a bit more ironic distance than Shirky allows). Watching sitcoms and the other drek served up by the boob tube was certainly part of our lives. But it was not the center of our lives. Most of the people I knew were doing a whole lot of "participating," "producing," and "sharing," and, to boot, they were doing it not only in the symbolic sphere of the media but in the actual physical world as well. They were making 8-millimeter films, playing drums and guitars and saxophones in bands, composing songs, writing poems and stories, painting pictures, making woodblock prints, taking and developing photographs, drawing comics, souping up cars, constructing elaborate model railroads, reading great books and watching great movies and discussing them passionately well into the night, volunteering in political campaigns, protesting for various causes, and on and on and on. I'm sorry, but nobody was stuck, like some pathetic shred of waterborne trash, in a single media-regulated channel.
Link: Gilligan's Web.