There is a new content filter on the web that just came to my attention when I applied for a job with them, trapit, meanwhile, one of my tried and true web tools, delicious, recently got a makeover. Both of these sites are now functioning as advanced search tools that are meant to find quality content that is hidden in the vast jungles of the web. Trapit aims to be like Pandora radio, but for content, evolving to meet the interests of the user. Delicious has always been the off-brand in relation to reddit and digg, a community center of sorts for interesting links. They are both like search engines, but rather than returning the most clicked result, they hone in upon niche areas.

This makes me think about a consequence of what Schiller would call modernity and what I will simply call the internet, increased specialization.

Democracy at the moment faces the problem of creating a hegemonic People. While a certain populist pathos is still present in 21st century society and media, I think that the Masses are losing ground to the long tail. Instead of a unified People, we encounter an array of niche’s and subcultures, where every product and every idea is honed to reach a very specific slice of the population.

Why is this the case? Increasing complexity in society correlates with increasing fragmentation. Silicon Valley does not share a knowledge base with Hollywood, just as a trucker does not share a knowledge base with a dentist. We live in an era of “lifestyle,” and all of our differing lifestyles result in differing values and differing perspectives. The reality of class warfare is more evident than ever before, and yet it has splintered outside the bounds of a proletariat/bourgeoisie, wage slave/bureaucrat dichotomy. 21st century society is overrun with soci0-economic positions one can occupy; with a myriad of labels and sub-genre’s, and as a finishing touch, a “post-” prefixed to everything e.g. “Post-racism black South African 2nd generation immigrant.” What do they want? What rung to they occupy in the economic food chain? And why, in God’s name, do they think we live in post-racist times?

Perhaps the wisest solution is the Watchmen hypothesis. We need to invent a source of violence so massive that it can function as a “constitutive Other” and unite the world in opposition to Environmental Catastrophe, Alien Attack, or what have you.