Lord of the Memes

David Brooks, NYT:

Today, Kindle can change the world, but nobody expects much from a
mere novel. The brain overshadows the mind. Design overshadows art.

This transition has produced some new status rules. In the first place,
prestige has shifted from the producer of art to the aggregator and the
appraiser. Inventors, artists and writers come and go, but buzz is
forever. Maximum status goes to the Gladwellian heroes who occupy the
convergence points of the Internet infosystem — Web sites like
Pitchfork for music, Gizmodo for gadgets, Bookforum for ideas, etc.

These tastemakers surf the obscure niches of the culture market
bringing back fashion-forward nuggets of coolness for their throngs of
grateful disciples.

Second, in order to cement your status in
the cultural elite, you want to be already sick of everything no one
else has even heard of.