NY Times Magazine on experience

Does new media make us less connected? From a NY Times Magazine article on July 19, 2009, in an article in The Way We Live Now column entitled, The Shuffle President, Matt Bai writes:

Americans acclimated to clicking around hundreds of cable channels or Web pages experience the world less chronologically than their parents did. The most popular books now — business guides like “Good to Great” or social explorations like “The Tipping Point” — allow the casual reader to absorb their insights in random order or while skimming whole chapters.

Once we listened to cohesive albums like, say, Bob Dylan’ s “Highway 61 Revisited,” which kicked off with the snare hit of “Like a Rolling Stone,” almost like a starter pistol, and worked its way toward the melancholy postscript of “Desolation Row.” Now your iPod might jump mindlessly from “Desolation Row” to “Tombstone Blues,” or from Dylan to Rihanna . The shrink-wrapped record has given way to the downloaded single. Wasn’t this one reason for all the tributes to Michael Jackson? It’s not that “Thriller” was really as singularly awesome as so many of us thought it was in high school. It’s more that we know there may never be an album that epic again.

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