Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Browsing as Adventure

It has been announced that the BBC Worldservice will no longer broadcast to Europe, last year they cancelled service to the USA. I realize that this is the result of the internet and that the Service sells programming to outlets like NPR stations but it is a sad day.

I can honestly say that my first encounter with the world as a young person was with Shortwave radio. When I was in High School I broke a leg and (this was 1981) I had a Shortwave that I began to listen to allot because of an injury. I was mesmorized to listen to Radio Moscow, when Russia was still the enemy, Radio Havana and of course the BBC. I could actually discover a new country and listen to other opinions. When I lived in Bolivia after college I looked forward to listening to the Voice of America and BBC just to get more news. The days of Shortwave and unfiltered news are gone forever.

The BBC catalyst lead to so many things for me as a person. My sense of the world began to be shaped by listening to the odd nations and capitals on shortwave. I remember once I got a
QSL card (reception report confirmation) from Radio Vilnius in Soviet Lithuania and what a thrill that was for a kid from Chicago.

I think that it is the loss of seredipity and adventure that is destroying young people today. Bookstores, Radio Stations, Record Stores have all been either destroyed or narrowcasted. The chance for young people to find something out in a chance way has been removed or reduced by the world we live in now. We all have our 'playlist' and our 'presets'. I think there is something missing. I still find it a thrill to go to a really good bookstore and find something totally unexpected. My wife often complains about not being able to really browse and find a new piece of music because most of the good music stores are closed.

In the end chance meetings and chance encounters are being missed. Like getting lost on a drive and finding something new. We are poorer for the loss.

1 comment:

Larry Sawyer said...

A wealth of information and opportunities has created a situation where we are leading more insular lives. Truth is now seen as relative, so if everything is equal, many suppose that the choices they make are as good as any other and most people figure, why bother? This is a huge problem for a society, because many now turn to the news source of their choice and forego others, which leads to a myopic view of life. When folks who don't seek out information from more than one source make decisions we all suffer.