I Say a Little Prayer for You

Little AnthonyLike the journalist Wesley Yang, who asked on Facebook, “Who is Casey Anthony?” I have no idea who Casey Anthony is. I don’t know if s/he is a man, an adult, white, American, really nothing. (Though in the back of my mind I imagine a fey black singer ca. 1963—the obvious Little Anthony and the Imperials connection.) All I know is that s/he is involved in some kind of court case, which may or may not be still going on.

What this tells me is that you really can ignore a lot of the news if you want to, even if you’re a media junkie like me.  I read tons of magazines and surf the net religiously. While I’ve seen the name Casey Anthony all over the place, I haven’t clicked on it. And that, it seems to me, is a good thing about getting your news from the net.

We hear a lot these days—or at least we used to—about the threat the new media ecology poses to our democracy and collective identity. Without the newspaper as our morning prayer, the argument goes, we no longer worship at the same church. Instead, we organize ourselves into little groupuscules, isolating ourselves from views (and pews) different from our own.

I have no idea if that’s true, but I do know this:  I feel a much stronger communion with humanity when I can ignore most of it.

(This post is dedicated to my wife, compared to whom I’m a people who love people.)


  1. Sumanth Gopinath July 6, 2011 at 4:31 pm | #

    Corey, you’ve probably seen this already (or, better, have read some or all of Pariser’s book, The Filter Bubble), but in case you or your readers haven’t, here’s the most recent instantiation/variant of the Sunstein argument–with the same fears about democracy’s decline on display.

    (I say this while also confessing that I generally have an aversion to Ted Talks, so perhaps this is too easy a target. Nonetheless, it’s a thought-provoking, if not fully realized argument–the important part of which is that Google is imposing a company-defined groupuscular existence on users/consumers, rather than merely allowing them to choose it.)


  2. Corey Robin July 6, 2011 at 9:44 pm | #

    Thanks for this, Sumanth. On watching it, my response followed the same arc I think yours did. Some initial annoyance and eye-rolling, followed by some sense that he is raising some good points here. Though the whole idea that Google or whoever is selecting preferences for you — it’s not exactly new. Anyway, thanks for sending it on.

  3. Grandma July 7, 2011 at 7:12 am | #

    Bab’s couldn’t have said it better.

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