One of my ongoing passions is pondering the passing of pop culture references. Baby boomers have lived through decades of new hip phrases -- for instance, the hip word for "good" has evolved every few years, from "cool" to "groovy" to "far out" (thanks to John Denver for killing that one off by using it too much) to "excellent" to "bad" to "tight" to other words and phrases.Young people are constantly introducing new words and bringing new meanings to old words. That's a part of the evolution of culture and language.
I'm watching "JFK: Breaking the News," a documentary on WNET, one of the New York area's PBS stations, about the media coverage of the November, 1963 assassination of president John F. Kennedy. It's fascinating because in analyzing the way both print and broadcast journalists scrambled in Dallas after the shooting, the program shows how it was a bellwether event in the history of media. It marked the passing of the "breaking news" mantle from newspapers to television.
I'm proud to be a Baby Boomer, because of all the historical implications my generation has had. Not the usual stuff about living through the Vietnam war and rock and roll and Kennedy and civil rights and the space race (all of which is true), but more the fact that simply having such a large cohort of people growing up at the same time forced society and industry and business and culture to change to accommodate us all.
Bill Clinton, who's the quintessential boomer -- the first avowed rock and roller (OK, so maybe playing Fleetwood Mac for campaign music isn't hardcore, and he didn't "inhale," but he's still more like us, than, say, the first George Bush or Ronald Reagan) who moved into the White House -- turns 60 this week, and the BBC had this interview with the guy.
When I wrote last week about the death of AOL, I may have been premature. Maybe it's just the start of a new chapter in AOL's lifespan.
Take this Washington Post story today, for proof. AOL last week screwed up and released private information about its users and how they use the company's search engine.
Significantly, the top search term entered by AOL users is "Google."
Truly, it's the end of an era.
My first online job, way back in 1996, was as Content Editor of AOL's Digital City Denver. It was a great time to be working on the Internet -- there was a palpable sense of excitement. Everything was new, and everything was possible.
Never mind that AOL wasn't exactly the "Internet" (many 'Net folks pooh-poohed AOL even then), we were all missonaries preaching the online faith. Like the other handful of online companies at the time, we spent more than half of our long days meeting with potential partners, advertisers and content providers, as well as anyone who would spend the time to listen, to tell them about the Internet and how it would change their lives.
I get a lot of inquiries about podcasting because DenverPost.com has had podcasts for a year, from newspapers interested in starting podcasts, consulting companies researching them, and from students working on papers.
I recently received a note from a student in England, and I thought I'd post his question and my response:
The current protests throughout the world by Muslims who were offended by caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (the cartoons caused riots in Afghanistan) that originally ran in a Danish newspaper, sparked an interesting discussion among some friends of mine, about the nature of offensive imagery and the role of the media and even of cartoonists. The most inflammatory cartoon was one of Muhammad with a bomb as part of his turban, suggesting that all Muslims are terrorists.
Below are edited excerpts from the e-mail discussion.
I had the great fortune of flying to Boston over the weekend on business. It was a great time to be there: the weather was downright balmy (50s!) and the seafood sampler at the Union Oyster House (allegedly the oldest restaurant in the United States) was terrific.
And oh yeah, did I mention? The New England Patriots lost to the Denver Broncos.