Friday, November 5, 2010

Too much hubba bubba

Lee De Forest (d. 1961), one of the inventors of radio, wrote in a 1946 letter to the editor of the Chicago Tribune:

What have you done with my child? He was conceived as a potent instrumentality for culture, fine music, the uplifting of America's mass intelligence. You have debased this child, you have sent him out into the streets in rags of ragtime, tatters of jive and boogie music, to collect money from all and sundry for hubba bubba and audio jitterbug. You have made of him a laughing stock of intelligence, surely a stench in the nostrils of the gods of the ionosphere; you have cut time into tiny cubelets called "spots" (more rightly stains), wherewith the occasional fine program is periodically smeared with impudent insistences to buy or try.

I suppose he might as well have been speaking these days about the Internet.