He is full of high sentence, like J. Alfred Prufrock. But beneath it all, one finds a sense of cultural history combining one part idyllic idealization with two parts status anxiety. Gorman only appears to be facing hard questions about the new digital order. Actually he is just echoing debates on “mass society” from five or six decades ago.
So let us go, then, you and I — friends, as we are, of dusty pre-digital cultural literacy — into the library stacks. Let us locate a bound volume of Sewanee Review from 1957 and open it to read “Daydreams and Nightmares: Reflections on the Criticism of Mass Culture” by Edward Shils. The same text may be found in Shils’s collection The Intellectuals and the Powers and Other Essays, published by the University of Chicago Press in 1972 — a volume not yet absorbed by Google Books. —Scott McLemee —Mass Culture 2.0 (Inside Higher Ed)
A good response to librarian Michael Gorman’s latest anti-technology rants.