I’m amazed at the amount of time people spend on the internet. I’m not against technology, but all tools should be used to their best advantage. We should be spending our time on things that have staying power, instead of on the latest thought of the latest blogger—and then moving on quickly to the next blogger. That makes us more superficial, not more thoughtful.
Now on the one hand I suppose it could be true that there are tons of people out there writing and reading blogs to stroke their own sense of coolness and contemporaneity. However I think Packer’s comment really just reflects little more than the all too familiar phenomenon of cross-generational disgust. So much so that it actually obscures some of the important issues, such as Packer’s claim that we ought to be spending our time on “things that have staying power.” I’m not sure what exactly Packer has in mind by this, but it sounds far too calculating and utilitarian to be virtuous. Rather than seeking “the new” we ought to be seeking more obvious, substantial, and permanent things that have abiding power (Like Packer’s many published books perhaps?).
Might not a more charitable and realistic reading be that what is being pursued by many bloggers is not simply novelty but truth? It seems to me that consciously seeking exposure to new ideas, books, thoughts, and arguments should not be denigrated but encouraged. What seems decidedly less virtuous is Packer’s recommendation of pursuing things having “staying power” over against “the new.” Seems to me that this is nothing more than an encouragement to be satisfied with the familiar rather than allowing one’s thought to be challenged by a wide exposure to ideas. What’s virtuous or radical about that?