Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cognitive Surplus and the Simpsons

Maybe I don’t feel so bad “wasting” my time on blogs like the Treasury of Laughter and the Cokesbury Party Blog.

Here we see the efforts of an individual, albeit uninformed on the ins and outs of “The Wizard of Oz,” working as hard as he (and I have to hazard a guess it’s a he, and I think I’d be right) can to chronicle the vast array of cultural references in The Simpsons.

Clay Shirky talks about this kind of thing – clear evidence of a cognitive surplus (which is defined as individuals in today’s digital society finding more constructive ways to spend their free time than watching television, which he posits was the cognitive sinkhole of the post-World War II era).

There's lots of debate out there, however, over producing versus consuming and then when it gets to producing, the quality of what is produced. I'm not so sure I buy into the "quality" portion of the argument, because there's lots of stuff of dubious quality that gets published without ever first touching the Internet. The Internet has just opened the floodgates for all producers.

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