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charlie, computer cat

April 2019



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:p kittie

The cognitive surplus. A very interesting article on why sitcoms are like gin and the internet is the growth of civil society. No really, go read it. Via copperbadge.


Interesting - not necessarily right, but interesting.
It made me think of the woman who did the Lego Cathedral, who says in the FAQ
It was about a year and a half of planning, building and photographing. It was a big project, but it was less time than most people spent watching TV during that same year and a half. I've seen other serious Lego constructors saying the same thing.

I hadn't seen that before - that's incredibly nifty. I love lego construction pictures - I used to really like the Lego Escher photos.
An interesting read, and certainly has valid points about how adding collective value is actually surprisingly easy if enough people think so, but I'm not convinced by the basic thesis. If you can characterise society so easily anyway, we didn't "grow out" of gin and "grow in" to libraries and liberal democracy - just listen to the periodic media complaints about binge drinking. Creativity has always grown out of spare time, and people have always had free time, just not necessarily in the same regular pattern. The pyramids were probably built mostly by farmers from the Nile who could no work during flood season, for example, and not by huge teams of slaves or flying saucers.

The TV producer friend, though, does seem characterised as particularly stupid, but her position doesn't ring entirely true.
I still know people who do take that kind of attitude when I mention doing things like LiveJournal (or, in fact, roleplaying), so I wasn't surprised by the position she's portrayed as taking and I found the time comparisons very interesting in that context.

I haven't done the reading on that period (plus I hate social history) but I was under the impression that the gin binge of the early industrial period was several orders of magnitude different from binge drinking issues today. Not so?
Oh, I agree that it's a believable position and I do fully expect there to be people who hold similar opinions - but it was presented rather conveniently for the poster's argument, and in a real discussion I would expect more back and forth over it.

I believe the gin issue was very serious - or at least was considered very serious - but the basic human failings it was exposing haven't really changed, we just really don't have the same horrendous levels of urban poverty and unemployment. I don't agree with the poster's argument of a step change in society causing some kind of societal angst - yes, urbanisation caused poverty which led to the gin problem, but to characterise it as the shock to a generation seems naive.
Ah thanks, people have been talking to me about that.