Musings —05.10.2010 01:00 AM—
“You’re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank that high on the truth meter,” he told the students. “And with iPods and iPads, and Xboxes and PlayStations — none of which I know how to work — information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it’s putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy.”
Not sure I agree with the fellow who said that – and that’s significant, because I pretty much agree with him on everything – but he has a point, at least in respect of the blogosweird. When unashamed racists are treated like informed analysts by broadcasters – using your tax dollars, no less – then it is certainly inarguable that “truth” has become so relative that it lacks all meaning.
But Obama is wrong, I think, about the iPad – and plenty of you have written to me to ask me if you should buy one, and I have said yes in every instance – because it isn’t merely about entertainment, or because it’s a diversion. Since getting it, I am reading way more fiction (via iBook and Kindle) than I have read in years. I am staying up to all hours, downloading free public-realm classic literature with wild abandon. I can read newspapers in the way they are supposed to be read, and advertising can be offered thereupon in a way that isn’t irritating (check out the New York Times app to see what I mean). And my kids are fighting to read on it, all the time, because it is so easy to use and so much fun. The iPad makes – or will make – learning easier.
Do people download shooting games and stuff like that on it? Sure, you can do that. But you can do that on the Presidential Blackberry, too, but I can’t recall seeing him flinging it into the Potomac, either.
When it finally makes its way into The Great White North, you’ll see: the iPad ain’t no Xbox. It’s amazing, and it’s going to change the way we do a lot of things – good things.