The promise of media

This morning someone sent me an email bubbling over with praise concerning what she called a “great wine history Web site.”

Of course, my interest in wine leans heavily toward its long and varied history so I clicked on the link my friend provided.

The Internet is a marvel  quite like the marvel of television—early television, I mean. With the introduction of television came the promise of a revolution in information gathering. Sound familiar?

Television was to be the first instrument of mass information that would dwarf the power of radio. Well, television did ultimately dwarf the power of radio, but I doubt it went so far as to meet its promise to become THE important information medium. On the other hand, television did manage to succeed at becoming THE most effective means of transporting both banality and advertising directly into our living rooms and then into our brains.

Using as a guide the trajectory of television in our culture, I fear for where the Internet might lead us. That fear was heightened just a little when Firefox connected me to the so-called wine history site that my friend recommended.

The first thing that bothered me about the site is that no one, no company, and no entity takes credit for it, at least nowhere on the site that I could find it. Wait a minute. That’s not the first thing that bothered me. It was the music.

The site comes with a warning to “turn on your speaker.” My warning to you: turn off the speaker. The music made me feel as if I was on my way up to the fourth floor, or something.

Anyway, in the scheme of things, the music annoyance is small potatoes and I could live with it if I had to, and apparently, one must. It’s the wine history that I craved, and still do, since the site provides something lighter than wine history lite.

The site hasn’t lifted or blatantly stolen the wine information; it does worse; it boasts that the source of the “history” is Wikipedia. Then, the site somehow manages to even shorten Wiki’s already woefully brief wine history.

Having the close connection that I have to the Finger Lakes region and to New York wine in general, I ambled to the New York history section. To my surprise, I discovered that New York is a mono-wine culture. No mention is made of the state’s five appellations, and no mention is made of the the fact that some grapes do not grow throughout the state. Obviously, the site master doesn’t know that like politics, all wine is local.

On closer scrutiny of the site I discovered that the wine history is there as filler. The site is dedicated to marketing and selling to consumers. In other words, this wine site represents on the Internet the potential to meet the fulfillment of television.

If you must, have a look at it: WineHistory?   Remember to turn off your speakers first.

Copyright Thomas Pellechia
December 2008. All rights reserved.

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