’60s: The Reality Show
: Tim Oren and I enjoyed Larry Smith’s piece about living in the pre-technology-revolution days of the year of our birth, 1954.
This would make a great reality show — even better, actually, than the shows about living on the old prarie on PBS.
Wouldn’t it be so much better to bring it close to home? Make the kids of a guy my age live in my youth (when, I tell them, we had black & white TV and only three channels and no computers and no Internet and no iPods and no microwave popcorn and no video games!). For that matter, make a guy my age live in that time and suffer, too.
The sequel: Make me live in my father’s time (so I can verify that he really didn’t walk to school 10 miles in the snow).
: UPDATE: Or you could be Doc and sneak along a laptop, bluetooth cellphone, and network link to the tent.
: I quite enjoyed Jay Rosen’s trash-talk reply to Jack Shafer’s snotty self-importance as he complained that we don’t have one press critic of the stature of St. Liebling. Said Jay:
A.J. Liebling wrote the Wayward Press column for the New Yorker. Shafer writes the Press Box column for Slate. Those are roughly similar activities. Shafer tells us that Liebling did 82 press columns over 18 years at the New Yorker. Judging by the Press Box archive, Shafer has written 200+ columns over four and a half years. Is it fair to ask: why has Shafer himself not emerged as the “next” Liebling? After all, he has the most interest in the question. The opportunity has been there for him, week to week. He had motive, means. Is it the anxiety of influence? Other priorities at the time? Lack of competition, perhaps?
They both miss the point; Shaffer really misses it.
We don’t need a single one-size-critiques-all press critic anymore because we have thousands of press critics: Everybody can be a press critic today. That yields both better criticism and better press.