Remix, by Lawrence Lessig

I’ve been extremely influenced by Larry’s thinking and work and writing over the last several years, and have been hugely encouraged by the adoption of Creative Commons, which he founded many years ago. I like reading his work because it covers a number of topics that I have a deep interest in, and covers them generally from a point of view that’s original and different in background from my own. Plus, he’s an extremely articulate guy, always.

I think this is his most mainstream work to date — it’s an exploration of what’s happening in our culture today — which I’ve used the word “synthetic” for, but he calls the “remix culture.” Just the idea that modern media is all about blurring the lines between consumption and creation, and that mixing things together creates new things in the process. He articulates, quite clearly, that unless we change the way we think about creators & consumers, and adjust our social norms and laws, we risk splitting our society between young & old (at best) or criminalizing the acts of an entire generation (at worst).

There were several parts of this book that have prodded new thinking for me — one that I’ve been thinking about is related to long form reading — what we’ve always called, you know, “books.” Larry talks about how a thousand years ago (give or take), Latin was the language of the elite & educated class — but the people who spoke & valued Latin sort of missed the revolution of the masses — the rise of the “vulgar” languages like Italian & Spanish & French. Similarly, the language of today is moving from the vocabulary of words to the vocabulary of sounds and images. That seems spot on to me.

Anyway, a great book that captures a lot of the dynamic in media today — recommended for sure.

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