Cult of the Professional Buck

October 2, 2007 at 5:17 am | Posted in Assignments, Thoughts | Leave a comment

The Internet frees consumers from the strangle hold of professional culture. Andrew Keen, however, would rather have media gatekeepers anoint talent and define cultural expression. Yet the real dichotomy for Mr. Keen is bought content and free content.

In his discussion with David Weinberger, The Good, the Bad, And the ‘Web 2.0’, he presents a view that traditional media has provided safe harbor for talented, professional expression.

Meanwhile, traditional scarcity is getting scarcer. We’ve always had a scarcity of seriousness, of talent, of the artist/intellectual able to monetize their expertise… Traditional media has done a good job in discovering, polishing and distributing that talent. But once everything is flattened, when books are digitalized, when libraries become adjuncts of Google, when writers are transformed into sales and marketing reps of their own brands, then what?

For Mr. Keen, being able to assign a value to talent and its production defines its worth. Traditional media acting to “discover” talent created false scarcities by controlling avenues of expression. His problem with the lack of artistic talent isn’t so much that it is vulgar, traditional media is vulgar, but that higher culture will no longer demand a premium in the marketplace of expression.

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