Deep Thoughts: Everything's Available
Note: This post was published last week, but Blogger erased it when they were resolving some technical issues. All comments were lost as well - which is a shame considering there were some rather good ones. Anyway, I've resurrected it since it goes along with the next deep thoughts post.
Let's pretend it's 1982 and you want to look at a 1975 back issue of a magazine, maybe an Ebony or an Easyrider. You are basically S.O.L. It's just not going to happen. There's no ebay and there's no Internet, so you're just going to have to live without it.
Today, I can easily grab a back issue, and more than likely I'll find it for free online somewhere - possibly Google Books or a newsgroup or a torrent, etc. The same holds true for books (and music, movies and TV for that matter). It's certainly interesting to muse upon, but the real issue is how this has affected our culture and what can we expect in the near future?
For one, the past is a lot more accessible than it ever was. The seventies are over, but the images and sounds of the decade are instantly at our fingertips. Records long out of print can be downloaded. Magazines that haven't been in circulation for fifty years are available as PDFs. Movies that hit a handful of drive-ins are now arriving in millions of mailboxes in red envelopes. You could almost say the past is more accessible today than it was in the past!
The fact that the present is marinated in the past has got to have societal consequences. I doubt we are aware of most of the repercussions, but they are there nonetheless. And this is only the beginning. The floodgates have only just opened.
At Retrospace, I every so often offer a sample of an obscure song from the seventies, or maybe a scan of an old Dynamite magazine. It won't be long before these old posts look sadly quaint. You'll be able to get any song, movie, book, or magazine that your heart desires at the click of a button. You'll be literally drowning in choices and selection.... and yet, we humans only have a limited amount of days and leisure hours to spend. So, where and when is the limit?
It's an interesting thought. I'd be interested to hear any of your comments on the matter.