(Pat Oliphant via GoComics.com)
If you’re like me, you don’t read Robert Samuelson’s columns very often, because he’s basically Tom Friedman without the phony charisma of MBA-friendly catchphrases. For your entertainment, Jonathan Chait in NYMag:
In the category of Luddite rants against the Internet, nothing will ever top John R. MacArthur’s famous exposition of his belief that this Internet fad is nothing more than a “gigantic Xerox machine.” But Robert Samuelson’s column in the Washington Post Sunday is surely a minor classic of the genre. Earlier this summer, Samuelson wrote, “If I could, I would repeal the Internet,” but couched his argument in the form of a warning against cyberterror. Sunday’s column scrapes away the cold policy rationale and strikes right at the heart of his fear of journalistic modernity, the cyberterror he already experiences every day.
Samuelson freely intermingles appeals to the public good with confessions of personal anxiety. He is stunned that Don Graham, a friend since college, would sell the newspaper; he considers journalism distributed via the Internet “spotty and unreliable” in comparison with journalism distributed via newsprint; he devoutly wishes we could return to the old days: “I’m a dinosaur. I’ve got three manual typewriters at home awaiting the Internet’s collapse, which I would celebrate.” Not one but three manual typewriters! When the collapse comes, Samuelson will command a mighty publishing empire, churning out vital commentary in triplicate, while desperate Ezra Klein pounds helplessly on his door….
Samuelson has spent 30 years lecturing Americans threatened by competition that they should suck it up. Only now, in the twilight of his career, does he see himself among them, and his response to this misfortune — a still-theoretical threat to his comfortable sinecure — is to wish the source of that competition out of existence…