The Internet as a democratizing and liberating medium is a frequent theme in discussions on the social utility of New Media. In Writing for the Internet, Camille Paglia describes the Internet as a ‘potentially universal medium’, one that will bring us to the mountain by democratizing what were formerly rigid hierarchal mediums, with a focus on academia and the news in this essay. The losers in this new digital frontier are the rigid old print-based publications, and for reasons unexplained, academic critical theorists and post-structuralists.
While the Internet may open access to many different channels for a wider range of people, the article seems to take as given that the content of these channels are valuable. Paglia compares Internet publishing and writing to call-in radio shows, which she talks with a nostalgic reverence. This nostalgia and ironic attachment to such channels shields the fact that most call-in radio shows are exercises in banality, anti-intellectualism, and cross-eyed spectacle. Accompanying the rise of ‘crowd-sourcing’ and the ‘let the consumers decide!’ is an increase in the popularity of bite-sized, Youtube-friendly- bloggable junk. What rises to the top of the Internet cesspool is what most people settle on is good, the very definition of the lowest common denominator.