There are three types of people who survive in media: hard workers, sycophants, and the serial failures they both work for who somehow manage to continually find employment despite a reasonably public record of the wreckage they've left behind. Too harsh? Maybe, a bit—some sycophants are arguably hard workers too, and serial failure might not be as easy as the eternally mediocre make it look—but after my own 25+ years surviving in media (and currently in the final throes of a demoralizing corporate bankruptcy), I'm feeling a little cynical.
For an allegedly liberal industry, publishers do a much better job of packaging and peddling the worst aspects of conservative punditry (along with celebrity memoirs and coloring books), while truth, history, and “diverse” perspectives and experiences are often dismissed as having limited commercial potential regardless of their cultural value. Many are sitting on a treasure trove of great content and access to a roster of truly creative people with timely and compelling insights and ideas that could literally change the world, but we’ll most likely just see a few anthologies cranked out to modest acclaim, with minimal marketing and zero cultural or financial impact.
"Wow..." That was my whispered, slack-jawed reaction to the final 30 minutes of BioShock Infinite, arguably the most compelling video game experience I've ever had. It's not a perfect game by any stretch of the definition, and since completing the game, I've thoroughly enjoyed reading some of the more measured reviews that haven't been afraid to point out its flaws, but to borrow a phrase from Grace Jones, it might not be perfect, but it's perfect for me.
The public library is one of the fundamental pillars of our peculiar flavor of democracy, and yet, recent events in both political and publishing circles suggest that our commitment to them is wavering. And there's certainly no shortage of opinions about their place in the "digital future," some optimistic, but most some ignorant variation on "Who needs libraries when we have Kindles, Netflix and Wikipedia?"
Stories just as powerful and compelling as those Waiting for Superman put in the spotlight are confined to the printed page instead of being unleashed across multiple platforms for people to connect with, share with others, and inspire action.