Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Pirates of the Amazon
There’s something a little depressing about the fact that this week’s conversation about the future of art and entertainment has been dominated by—ugh—distribution models. Whether it was the endless chatter over Louis CK’s experiment in selling a comedy special by himself for $5, or the outrage over a Slate column that suggested that Amazon is better for the book business than local indie shops, it seems the world is suddenly far more interested in infrastructure than it is intertext.
But then, this is the state of things in 2011. If the latter half of the twentieth century was a meta, navel-gazing conversation about the nature of art itself, then the twenty-first century’s digital shift has gone meta on the meta and made it about how the spread of art is changing. Particularly for those who make their livelihoods in media, my grumpy disdain is uncharitable, I know. There are very legitimate concerns about the ways in which people buy, make and find art and entertainment.