SuperGeekery: A blog probably of interest only to nerds by John F Morton.

A blog prob­a­bly of inter­est only to nerds by John F Mor­ton.

The Passing of Michael Jackon and Mass Media.


Yes­ter­day was Michael Jackson’s Memo­r­i­al ser­vice. The world mourned. Yes, the world mourned. As I watched TV with much of the world, I won­dered what we were mourn­ing. I didn’t ask that as a way of dis­parag­ing Michael’s tal­ents. I’ve been a fan of his music like you prob­a­bly have too. But the fact that I can even say that you were prob­a­bly a fan of his music is what I think we’re mourn­ing, or at least in part. Were we bid­ding farewell to a time when we all lis­tened to the same thing, watched the same thing, danced to the same beat?

At the same time, I’ve been read­ing a thought-pro­­vok­ing book by Bob Bob Garfield called The Chaos Sce­nario, about the dis­in­te­gra­tion of mass media. The book out­lines in stark terms how the media land­scape we’ve known for 60 years is spi­ral­ing out of exis­tence. TV net­works have an unsus­tain­able busi­ness mod­el. So do mag­a­zines, radio, news­pa­pers, and even many of the Web sites we’ve come to accept as part of the land­scape of our lives. The cost of main­tain­ing these enti­ties can’t be met by the mon­ey they bring in from adver­tis­ers because the audi­ence isn’t con­cen­trat­ed enough to charge that much mon­ey. Add to that our chang­ing habits as active par­tic­i­pants in media cre­ation and con­sump­tion ver­sus the pre­vi­ous mod­el of pas­sive­ly tak­ing in the media we were fed because of a lack of choice and its abil­i­ty to only flow in one direc­tion.

None of this means that there isn’t anoth­er tal­ent­ed per­former out there that meets Michael Jackson’s lev­el of tal­ent. I might even hear him today on the sta­tion Pan­do­ra has cre­at­ed for me. I’ve called it Mor­ton Radio. You can check it out here. While I might dis­cov­er the next Michael Jack­son that res­onates with me, the chances of you find­ing him on my Pan­do­ra radio sta­tion are pret­ty slim. The chance of every­one in the world find­ing their next Michael Jack­son on my radio sta­tion is vir­tu­al­ly impos­si­ble. 

RIP MJ. RIP Mass Media.