Netflix, Nabokov & Cultural Freedom

Image credit: 123rf.com

Image credit: 123rf.com

Two decades into the Internet revolution, despite economic challenges and cosmetic upgrades, the ancient regime [of television] survives, remaining both the national’s dominant medium and one of its most immutable.
— Tim Wu

From Tim Wu at New Republic, a fascinating take on Netflix and the way in which they are trying to change television viewing habits. 

If Netflix has their way, we'll all live in a cultural world "compromising islands of fandom." And we'll lose that sense of national unity around particularly popular shows (125 million people watched the last episode of M*A*S*H). But Wu argues that we'll likely gain more than we lose: "The United States was once, almost by definition, a place without a dominant national identity. As it revolutionizes television, Netflix is merely helping to return us to that past."

But I'd argue that the USA has always been dominated by white males. The default American identity is white male. I work in Hollywood. White guys run the show. But Wu doesn't even mention race in this article about American cultural identity.

And, oh, yeah, Wu only quotes white guys...

So is Netflix really changing that white male paradigm? Maybe a little bit. 

In the meantime, the second season of House of Cards (made by and starring a whole bunch of white folks) debuts on February 14. And I'll try not to binge-watch every episode in one sitting.