Every Man A Blowhard

As SEND-button opinions fly, pity the undecided

The invention of the stirrup--enabling armored knights to fight on horseback--changed history. The modem has done much the same thing. It has supplied millions with a weapon that allows them to fire instantaneous opinions through the air like tracer bullets and thus engage in daily cultural warfare on a scale never seen before in history.

You can argue this as a wondrous stimulation and expansion of democracy. On the other hand, the hair-trigger modem, wired directly to the adrenal glands and needing only a finger twitch to hit SEND, encourages a certain violence of opinion--impulsiveness that hardens more quickly than before...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!