Monday, May 16, 2011


One more example of Toffler's Future Shock, that not only is change increasing, but the rate of change is increasing. It used to be an important point in disparaging something that current fad would itself go out of fashion someday. Few contemporary Christian songs of the 70's are still sung, just as the Rock of Ages traditionalists predicted. They have been replaced by songs of the 80's, which have been replaced by songs of the 90's. I would say those have been replaced by the songs of the 00's, but they haven't yet, at my church.

And that doesn't matter in the slightest. Songs that can be discarded - disposable songs, if you will - are not regarded as a problem. Rock of Ages is even less relevant than it was in 1970, yet its fans think it will endure. A few things from the old hymnody will hold on, but not many (and not that one). The argument that we should hold tight to Rock of Ages because the current items will go out of style misses the point. Replace-ability is now the style for worship music, whether anyone approves or not.

I think of that with blogging. Blogging is outrageously new and radical, yet already passe. You can switch to Twitter to be current, but that too will go out. But the fact that everyone will look back in 10 years and find them outmoded no longer means they will be thought ridiculous. I wanted my thoughts to be enduring, like the most favored 1% of printed material, and blogging offers an imitation of that. My thoughts will still be accessible in a decade or two, and thus will be "preserved," rather like the volumes in a used book store, waiting patiently for their reader. But romance aside, most of those volumes never find a reader, and each passing year sends them further down the chute. So with AVI posts. They will be here if anyone wants to make a study of them, and there always remains the chance that someone will take a fascination in 2031 and read them all. But not likely - even descendants are unlikely to spend more than a few fun afternoons with such things. There will be other information then that enchants more.

Blogs will go out before tweets. But both will go. A hundred years ago, that someone could write and know it to be ephemera would have been strange...

Hey, wait. Is that true? Isn't our sample of writings from a hundred years ago biased toward those works that people hoped would survive? Perhaps most people wrote then knowing that the next morning, or certainly the next year, would no longer regard their work. The newspaper was for the news of the day, and knew it. Only the columnists pretended that what they wrote had meaning beyond the fishwrap time period. Perhaps the period we move into now, where FB comments are unenduring and comfortably so, and blogs need no "Best Of's" because the medium requires ephemerality, is a return to normalcy, while the essayists of the 20th C were the aberration.

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