06:06 AM

WeekendWatcher: The Sheer Number Of Things Will Devalue Them

I've occasionally been writing about an effect that the Internet causes, an effect of devaluation. The Internet devalues everything it touches, if it can be made digital.

Happy Birthday Dear Internet . . . The Internet Devalues Everything It Touches

A Saturday Post: The Internet Devalues Everything It Touches, Anything That Can Be Digitized

In those articles I use the word "devalue" in its monetary sense but it can also be used in its broader definition, in reference to the cultural and societal sense of "values."

It's a controversial position because it seems as if I am critiquing the Internet and ignoring the tremendous amount of value that the Internet has enabled. But that's not the case, I'm merely pointing out a few things about the nature of the Internet and what it enables.

It's good to see others noticing this effect too. Especially when it is one of my favorite authors, the extraordinary writer Cormac McCarthy.

Mr McCarthy is not very interested in self-publicity and rarely gives interviews. But John Jurgensen at the Wall Street Journal managed to get some time with Mr McCarthy using the occasion of the upcoming release of "The Road," a movie based on his book of the same name.

Cormac McCarthy on The Road - WSJ.com

In the interview Mr McCarthy talks about technology and the future. He says:

Well, I don't know what of our culture is going to survive, or if we survive. If you look at the Greek plays, they're really good. And there's just a handful of them. Well, how good would they be if there were 2,500 of them? But that's the future looking back at us. Anything you can think of, there's going to be millions of them. Just the sheer number of things will devalue them. I don't care whether it's art, literature, poetry or drama, whatever. The sheer volume of it will wash it out. I mean, if you had thousands of Greek plays to read, would they be that good? I don't think so.

. . . This is just entry level to what's coming. Just the appalling volume of artifacts will erase all meaning that they could ever possibly have.

"The appalling volume of artifacts..."

What a brilliant way to describe the horror of the bounty that the Internet enables.

The rest of the interview is excellent too.

Cormac McCarthy on The Road - WSJ.com