Monday, December 11, 2006

Deprivation by Surfeit

Half a century ago, at the dawn of TV and before the Web, change was sluggish. It took years for new ideas and new people to grab the public imagination.

Now, we know everything instantly and we are in danger of what Lewis Mumford called "deprivation by surfeit," overwhelmed with more than we can digest and assimilate--too much in too little time to think about and understand.

The question comes up after the carpet-bombing of our senses with Barack Obama's rock-star tour of New Hampshire this weekend. Almost two years before the '08 election, he is a promising public figure.

But will the media devour him before we get a solid sense of who he is and what he may become?

In show business, disposable celebrities come and go with no social damage.

But, as we have learned to our sorrow in the past five years, picking a President is serious business. Give Obama and Americans a chance to get to know each other.

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