The co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation calls the current wave of media realliances ‘the rearrangement of deck chairs on the Titanic’
John Perry Barlow is a retired cattle rancher, a lyricist for The Grateful Dead — and the theoretical architect for the cyberspace community. He spoke by phone on May 24, 1996, from a New York hotel room after a speaking tour of Dusseldorf and Paris.
Do you think people are generally tired of the top-down model of journalism, where professional journalists decide what’s important for the public, where it’s all push and no pull?
They’re absolutely sick of it. Most people have become profoundly skeptical of what they read through mass media. For all intents and purposes, the mass media have become a collective hallucination. People want to bypass those channels to increase the level of direct experience, to have a much more direct contact with reality and with the subjects they feel closely about. And so, to the extent that people can disintermediate, that’s what they do.