Ross Douthat: It’s all about narcissism

In Sunday’s New York Times, Ross Douthat reminds us that we have a long history of blaming technological innovation for impending moral decline. Like the rampant decay that was imagined to be inevitable if we rode at 30 mph and used a telegraph.

He adds: “Sometimes, though, the pessimists are right to worry. Technology really does affect character. Cultures do change from era to era, sometimes for the worse. Particular vices can be encouraged by particular innovations, and thrive in the new worlds that they create.”

What moral weakness does our current crop of innovations inspire? Narcissism. He uses Rep. Anthony Wiener’s unfathomably adolescent behavior as an example: “[T]here’s no sign that Weiner was particularly interested in the women he communicated with — not as human beings, certainly, but not really even as lust objects either…his focus was always squarely on himself.” He also talks about what Facebook is doing to us, especially to the generation raised on it as mother’s milk. Read Douthat’s entire argument online HERE. (Photo credit: Paul Keller.)

Serendipity, information cocoons and our very own facts

Evgeny Morozov has a smart book review of Eli Pariser’s The Filter Bubble in today’s NY Times Book Review.

Not a bad time to re-run Pariser’s TED talk:

Caricature-defying quotes: Rachel Maddow

“Giant incredible rocket ships have a way of rendering politics meaningless, just as close proximity to scientific glory is a really good cure for cynicism, world weariness or being jaded about what human beings can accomplish.” — Rachel Maddow

(One of our theories here at The Village Square is that if we actually knew each other beyond the cut and paste quotes that uber-partisans regularly feed us, we’d like each other a little more. So please help me keep an eye out for people who’ve been – well, uh… divided — by the gaping partisan divide doing something intensely, decently human that you can’t help but kind of like…)

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