I saw a really striking article in The Hollywood Reporter (I think) maybe three years ago. In it, they reported that CBS had the youngest median viewer age of any network... at 43. More than that, the median viewer age of every network was going up by a year... every year. It has since crossed 50:
The trend is accelerating.
Meanwhile, newspapers. Who reads newspapers? I might, if I had a fireplace and relied on wood heat. Even then, my mother-in-law's house has newspapers dating back to the '80s. I lit a fire over Christmas with a Motorola StarTac ad from Magnolia Hi Fi.
The average viewer age of Fox News, as I recall, was 74. And yeah, the elderly still vote, and they vote a lot more than youth. They also have more money to donate to political causes. But they raise much less of a fuss over civil liberties and the like.
I think everyone is attempting to use as much of the influence they used to have while the audience they used to have is still breathing.
The question, which I believe we're involuntarily answering through experimentation, is what outcome can we expect between the old voters dying and the new children starting to vote.
The ominous precedent that exists is the 1960s, when the younger generation was going through a kind of cultural awakening and many were convinced that as soon as the WWI/WWII generations were dead that their generation would steward a more peaceful time. Then they all grew up and became conservative yuppies who now make up a huge portion of the Fox News viewership.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of young people out there who watched the Super Bowl who think that Madonna is pretty bad ass and that MIA was really rebelling when she flipped off the camera. These are the types that I count on to carry the conservative torch in 30 or so years. They may not be getting their message from the same news sources as the old conservatives of today, but as long as there's a bank account to protect somewhere, the world will have conservatives.
Ever really read up on FDR? She has a point. He was nearly overthrown in the Business Plot, in which Prescott Bush, Henry Ford and a few others tried to institute a Fascist government in the United States. "Republican" and "Democratic" didn't mean the same thing back then; I had a boss who pointed out that the Democratic party of today is a degree or two right of the Republican party of the '60s (Richard Nixon started the EPA and managed care, for chrissake). WWI was, from my understanding, the death throes of a Monarchist society in an Industrialist world. WWII, on the other hand, was an existential battle between Fascism and "everything else." The "liberal" and "conservative" values of our grandparents weren't gay marriage and single-payer healthcare. FDR shepherded Social Security; George Wallace tried to keep black kids out of white schools. The Equal Rights Amendment was 30 years from failing.
Economists like to call the period from 1947-1979 "The Great Prosperity." Sociologists, likewise, referred to those who grew up during that era as "The Me Generation" until that very generation turned around and tried to apply it to their kids. The entitlement of the Baby Boomers is well-known and well-researched; while the social change of the 60s was driven by idealism, its army burgeoned with ranks of those whose focus was a little more personal. "Get US out of Vietnam" ceases to be "liberal" when what you're really thinking is "Keep me out of Vietnam." Still, a little math:
If you were born in 1945, you were 23 when RFK and MLK were shot. You were 29 when Nixon resigned. You were 35 when the Iranian Embassy hostages came home. You were 42 for Iran Contra, 55 for the Lewinsky Scandal, 63 when the first black man was elected president...
... and today, you're still 9 years under the median age of Fox News viewers.
I think if you really look at the conservative movement today, you won't see idealists. You'll see opportunists. And for reasons outlined here:
And for the reasons outlined above, the "fiscal/social conservative" bait and switch isn't working any more. It is my measured opinion that throwing out hatebait in order to earn votes will cease to be an effective strategy in ten years or less.
Nixon wasn't all that bad by today's standards (god my dad, who is hippie artist born in '47 would kill me for saying so, but compared to NOW...). In addition to the things you point out, he also got us off the gold standard, something Europe did decades previous, and he also started the "War on Poverty". Both of these are antithetical to the Modern Republican ethos. FDR, as far as I've read, was the moderate Democrat of the time. The business elite hater him, but they assassinated Huey Long, who was poised to challenge him.
As for WWI and II, I can't recommend The Guns of August high enough, if you're at all interested in that history. Its a narrative history of the 1st month of WWI, and gives great perspective about the interrelatedness of the royal families of Europe, why war erupted, and the setup of WWII.turned me onto it. Its a history that is not told in enough detail in schools here, as it gets lost between the Civil War and WWII, but is absolutely fascinating. And, our world today is shaped by it, as it was the end of WWI that shaped the borders of many of the conflict areas of today (Mideast, Balkans, Africa).
It's one of the best books, history or otherwise, that I've read.
That is a very interesting question. However, in addition to the death of these older voters, don't we also need the death of a hell of a lot of archaic legislation? Which IMO raises a few issues: 1) Can/will the laws change fast enough? 2) Will the powers that be (buttressed by Citizen's United among other 'cronyisms') give in or simply insidiously co-opt and retrench? 3) Will the public be mislead into demanding the wrong things?
You know the RIAA is in the war room, and they are playing out possible scenarios. Old people are one thing, but rich bastards don't die. They get replaced by other rich bastards. I am personally hopeful that the house of cards is falling. Even more than hopeful actually... But I am trying to imagine what other scenarios might play out. We've got Google buying people for $25 in another post here. That's not the Google of 2005. Did the old media die, or did it get eaten? Is that why Cary is so fucking pissed? Not because of a revolt, but because he smells usurpation?
1) Can/will the laws change fast enough?
Did you see how the most conservative supreme court since Woodrow Wilson shot back a unanimous decision on car-tracking and unleashed several opinions saying, effectively, "Go legislate some privacy law because while this shit ain't kosher there's way the fuck too much gray in this area?" I remember when MoveOn.org formed - they wanted the government to "move on" from the Lewinsky scandal. They failed. Since then, they've done a lot of failing. Yet somehow, when the Internet says "Embargo On!", politicians blink. I think it has something to do with a bunch of angry kids on the Internet raising $15k in an hour for a congressman in bumblefuck nowhere they've never heard of just because he's running against someone they oppose.
2) Will the powers that be (buttressed by Citizen's United among other 'cronyisms') give in or simply insidiously co-opt and retrench?
They'll totally re-trench. That's not the question, though. I think we can agree that their motives are profit-based. Civil resistance, at its basest analysis, does nothing but decrease the efficiency of lobbying dollars. Walmart didn't start selling organic produce because the Green movement kicked their teeth in; they started selling organic produce because it has a higher profit margin. If you make "doing the wrong thing" lower profit than "doing the right thing" people will do the right thing even if it makes them less money than doing the wrong thing used to.
3) Will the public be mislead into demanding the wrong things?
The more disparate voices offering different opinions, the harder it is to shape any coherent message. The internet gave a tremendous howl over SOPA not because someone rallied the troops, but because everyone rallied the troops. They did so because you don't have to read very far into the bill to see that it's fucking scary.
>I am personally hopeful that the house of cards is falling. Even more than hopeful actually... But I am trying to imagine what other scenarios might play out.
I've met some people that just about anyone would consider "genuinely evil." I don't believe in genuine evil. I just see different levels of opportunism and different levels of empathy.
Empathy causes you to "do the right thing" when it's against your interests. Opportunism causes you to do the right thing when it's for your interests. The people behind the RIAA and the MPAA aren't evil, they're just protecting their money. In the end, it's a business decision and all the bread and circuses come down to calculus.
I've been reading a lot of permaculture manuals lately. One of the tenets is that "edge" must be optimized because anywhere you go from one biome to another, there's a gradient that can be exploited for energy.
There is an "edge" between old media and new media. There are those who will exploit it. And so long as the boundary conditions exist, anything is possible. Could Google ass themselves out of being every consumer's buddy? They certainly could. And in the end, the new boss isn't going to be any better than the old boss.
However, he won't do the "old things" just because they're the only things he knows how to do.
Also, does anyone have a link to the Cary piece? Did I miss it here somewhere?