Old Media To Open Riverboat Casinos?

Yesterday morning I saw the following headline on a 40-foot tall digitized billboard in Times Square, and it struck me so much that I had no trouble locating it on the web later in the day.

Old Media Turns Combative Against New Media


You already know where this is going: A bunch of dinosaurs had a meeting in Las Vegas where they attempted to deny the emerging dominance of the New Media (companies like Google, for example) and convince themselves that, while they have partnered with these companies (and are benefiting from the services they provide), it’s an unhappy marriage - one they feel forced into, and will fight against. I’m not sure exactly what it is they’re saying. Is New Media irrelevant? If so, how is it that they have no choice but to give in to it? Hmm.

Blah blah blah - all that is old news, though. Of course the Old and Big and Few hates the New and Segmented and Many. What’s most interesting, though, is this:

“The Googles of the world, they are the Custer of the modern world. We are the Sioux nation,” Time Warner Inc. Chief Executive Richard Parsons said, referring to the Civil War American general George Custer who was defeated by Native Americans in a battle dubbed “Custer’s Last Stand”.

“They will lose this war if they go to war,” Parsons added, “The notion that the new kids on the block have taken over is a false notion.”

So, I’m confused. Maybe my sense of history is off, but aren’t there a lot more people in the U.S. who are in the lineage of Custer than of the Sioux? Honestly - and I’m not at all saying it’s right - didn’t the white people end up winning? Wasn’t Little Bighorn just one battle - and haven’t the Native Americans, like, really lost in America? I hate to be comparing Google and its ilk to the systematic liquidation of Native American culture over our country’s history, but that’s precisely the point Richard Parsons seems to be missing: The new guys did take over. For better or worse, or both.

Once upon a time, there were some theatre artists making the same (flawed) analogy about the upstart film industry. And what do we have now? A society where both coexist and enrich our culture. Granted, sometimes it feels like the theatre is living on its own little “reservation,” existing solely due to (a very, very tiny bit of) government (and other institutional) support.

Old Media won’t die out completely. It will just be pushed aside to its own little parcel of cultural/economic real-estate that people with a taste for “the way things used to be” can visit to buy some souvenirs.

Man, I hate this analogy. It’s making me seem anti-Native American. Really, I’m just pro-Google. And I think Old Media is stupid to make such ill-considered associations.

This line from The Royal Tenenbaums might shed some light on the matter:

“Well, everyone knows Custer died at Little Bighorn. What this book presupposes is... maybe he didn't.”