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Time magazine asks Moby, Malcolm Gladwell, Tim

Time magazine asks Moby, Malcolm Gladwell, Tim O’Reilly, Clay Shirky, David Brooks, Mark Dery, and Esther Dyson about their views on the future: religion, culture, politics, etc. Gladwell: “If I had to name a single thing that has transformed our life, I would say the rise of JetBlue and Southwest Airlines. They have allowed us all to construct new geographical identities for ourselves.”

Reader comments

AndrewOct 18, 2005 at 12:45PM

All the cool stuff that's happened in the last 25 years with computer technology, biotechnology, the internet, etc. and Gladwell is excited about cheap flights with DirecTV? Lame.

ErinOct 18, 2005 at 1:48PM

Uummm Malcolm? You're kidding, right?

JemaleddinOct 18, 2005 at 1:56PM

The part that saddened me was how seriously some of those guys didn't take the war on Evolution. How big are your big thinkers when they fail to understand how important that fight is?

PhilOct 18, 2005 at 2:15PM

I guess it's fine to have esoteric smart (WHITE!) people talk about what they think is neat and where the world might go according to the stuff they are interested in but it made me long for an intelligent discussion from potential leadership. I know it wasn't the point of the article, but it felt like a very privileged, homogenious group blabbing on while Rome, ever so slightly, begins to smell of smoke.

Disclaimer: I'm a white guy who loves to read just about everything many of those people write/say and thinks they are intelligent. I simply want intelligence of their wholistic and well-rounded, creative nature to actually be applied to concrete, real-world problems sometimes.

AndrewOct 18, 2005 at 3:35PM

Isn't Malcom Gladwell black?

JemaleddinOct 18, 2005 at 3:51PM

Yes - and he made up more than 14% of the panel, so blacks were ually over-represented.

Donnie JeterOct 18, 2005 at 5:19PM

Anyone else beginning to think Gladwell is overhyped? How can we take him serious when he lists Jet Blue as the single thing that has transformed our lives?

PhilOct 18, 2005 at 6:02PM

Touché. He is however, Canadian.

essOct 18, 2005 at 7:17PM

We have so many long sad stories about people setting out for an uncertain future and cutting ties with the past, yet now it's not particularly difficult for people to make some decent money without foresaking ties in their homeland? Sounds like a change to me. Imagine "Gangs of New York" with all the gangs heading back to the homeland for a holiday three times a year. Whole different ball game.

The number of women who fly to the US just to have US citizen babies is a remarkable thing. It's like they're making sure their children are vacinated against deportation.

Long distance phone calls (which pre-date the 25-year time frame) handle everything materially that any modern communcations do, though not always with the same speed and panache. (Not sure what he's getting at with "identities.")

Moby seems not to understand that people could and did network before the internet - although we have eroded some class barriers...

David Brooks - who is usually a cheap hack - has some good points about stratification. I suspect that, in their own minds, people have always been fairly rigid. But in the good ol' days, the middling classes had to at least pretend to put up with the view of their co-workers and neighbors because that was all they had.

Sometime I like to spout off about how being in very different tempuratures thorughout the day causes all the illness that are blamed on dairy products and pollution and what have you, or claim that mental illness is on the rise because we are now so often photographed that our souls are being destroyed. I don't believe either of those things, but I do think it's remarkable that, in the course of an average day, I walk by at least a dozen cameras and - during a Houston summer - can wake up in 75-degree weather, go out into the 103-degree day, go into a 70-degree store, back into the day, go to 65-degree movie, back into the day. That can't be "natural." And when did people ever have to worry about being recorded while quielty going about their own day to day business? It's an odd thing.

What I really want is to gather up all these predictions about change in our times and future and hold another world's fair - so we can all be wrong.

Rachel CohenOct 19, 2005 at 12:26PM

Actually, the biggest change-agent is the thing they didnt mention--Wal-Mart. Now everyone can buy a DVR, a computer, too many clothes. People who once had no place to shop, no access to more sophisticated consumer goods--now have, if anything, so much access that they can control the culture, like family-friendly DVDs.
THis panle has their big-city, "aren't we cool" blinders on.

TxovOct 19, 2005 at 1:56PM

Big-city "aren't we cool" blinders are awesome.

One of the biggest developments of the last few decades is that through the internets, everyone can put on a pair.

RCOct 19, 2005 at 11:17PM

Or everyone can pretend they have a pair--like Julie (Mulie) of Real World New Orleans. With apologies to the New Yorker, "on the internet, no one knows you're a Mormon."

TokenMormonOct 20, 2005 at 12:00AM

I'm so sick of people making broad, sweeping, unfair and bigoted generalizations about members of any given religion.
Replace the word "Mormon" in your post with "Jewish" and see how much more obvious your assholery becomes.

jkottkeOct 20, 2005 at 9:45AM

I'm so sick of people making broad, sweeping, unfair and bigoted generalizations about members of any given religion.

Sorry, I don't understand the Julie/Mulie reference, the subsequent Mormon reference, and your characterization here...could RC and TokenMormon explain what they meant by their respective statements please?

Aside from that, there's a lot of broad, sweeping generalizing going on it this thread (white men, Canadians, big city dwellers)...aside from disagreeing, it seems to be the one thing that people like to do when participating in blog comment threads.

TokenMormonOct 20, 2005 at 12:29PM

RC appeared to be referring to a horribly embarassing (for all Mormons) character on MTV's Real World New Orleans, who displayed an unbelievable knack for saying and doing incredibly ignorant things vis a vis her black, gay and other roommates. When called out on her idiocy, she was quick to blame her religion and her university for what was most likely the result of her growing up in a very sheltered home in rural Minnesota (or was it Wisconsin?).

Those of us who are Mormons but are not ignorant fools, and who recognize that abstinence from extramarital sex and alcohol/tobacco consumption does not in any way require a person to be ignorant as to any other aspect of nonmormon society were simultaneously mortified/entertained.

My point was/is threefold:

1. Julie in no way represents Mormonism, its beliefs, or even its dominant culture. (but don't get me started on Mormon culture, which is even more embarassing, entertaining and incongruent with our actual doctrinal beliefs than Julie's brand of mormonism)

2. When a prominent figure in the media blames their religion for all of their social faux pas and gaffes, polite and intelligent folk would be wise to take it with a grain of salt and maybe hesitate before assuming or asserting that that figure's ignorance is indicative of some dominant facet of the religion. It is not.

3. Religion, and Christianity in particular, seems to have become (or maybe it's not a new development) the punching bag of the sophmoric internet blog set. While I would not include Kottke as a member of that set, it is apparent that many of your readers fall into that category. Mormonism, in particular, is held up quite often as a negative icon -- a minority that even self-proclaimed tolerant folks can flog publicly without fear of reproach. I don't think I need to go on about the hypocrisy of such an approach.

RC or someone will doubtless retort with some accusation of bigotry, racism or something else by Mormons, citing something that some members of the church may or may not have professed to believe 50-100 years ago. I suppose we Mormons should be flattered by such criticism. It indicates that people hold us to a higher standard than other religions, and I think they're right to do so. All humans err. Mormons are no exception -- our leaders included.

Nevertheless, it is appropriate, I think, to point out that when the word "Mormon" appears in a blog post, 9 times out of 10 the replacement of the word "Mormon" with the name of another religious, ethnic, racial or sexual minority would result in prompt deletion/banning/castigation of the poster.

A little tolerance goes a long way. A little more might even go as far as being tolerant of the misunderstood religious beliefs of one of the most significant religious minorities in America. That would be great.

BrianOct 20, 2005 at 7:33PM

Creationism and evolution using the same framework of secular science? No, thank you Shirky, "That's wrong." And the argument that oh well, it's just for seven year olds. WTF? Oh well, it doesn't affect the rest of our lives? WTF? And JetBlue and Southwest giving us new geographical identities? Huh? JetBlue is great, but that's what comes to mind when he thinks of what's transformed our lives?

Moby's input is the best. The Internet, hooking it up for elderly swedish women. :]

JoeOct 25, 2005 at 12:31PM

I also wondered WTF Gladwell was talking about. I would argue that JetBlue and SouthWest have had little appreciable impact on the lives of the vast majority of people. Certainly whether a flight costs $100 or $300 has no noticeable impact on my life. THESE are our forward-looking visionaries? Sorry, the Emperor has no clothes.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.