Charles Dickens and Walter White in the Digital Age

This writer said this 15 years ago:

Paris Review/Summer 2000
No. 155

T. Coraghessan Boyle, The Art of Fiction No. 161 (click on this for the full interview).

Interviewed by Elizabeth E. Adams

INTERVIEWER

Do you think it would be possible for a writer today to have the sort of success Dickens had? To be the popular entertainment of the day?

BOYLE

The answer is self-evident: absolutely and categorically no. We live in a cluttered culture, a culture of information in which even our computers can’t tell us what’s worth knowing and what is merely cultural scrap. In such a society, we don’t have the experience of contemplative space, of the time or mood to engage a book of poetry or even read a novel. Who can achieve the unconscious-conscious state of the reader when everything is stimulation, everything is movement and information? How can I sit down to open up an imaginative journey in words, when I might be missing something out there on the net or the tube or in the halls or clubs or restaurants?

♦  ♦  ♦ ………………………………………………………………………………………………..♦  ♦  ♦

And here is a contrasting message about quality in the Digital Age. It’s an insightful column on television, digital entertainment and business models from the New York Times today: “How television won the Internet,” by Michael Wolff.

Clue: “The fundamental recipe for media success, in other words, is the same as it used to be: a premium product that people pay attention to and pay money for.”

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