For example, when Ashton Kutcher began using Twitter, his adoring fan base embraced the messaging technology. Meanwhile, much of the rest of
Sometimes culture hurts. The first operation under anesthetic occurred on October 16, 1846, a momentous day that forever changed medicine. (Indeed, the room where the operation took place at the
Over 300 years of unnecessary and excruciating pain. Why?
Before 1846, prevailing religious and medical opinion held that pain was an essential part of the human condition, not to mention God’s way of keeping us from harming ourselves. Much of the medical establishment believed it was pain that kept a patient alive during a procedure. Doctors who endorsed pain-relievers, therefore, were cranks who preyed on the fear of their patients, frightening others from having surgery and undermining public health.
Despite the miracle of 1846, it would take the rest of the nineteenth century to convince the entire medical establishment that pain was unnecessary, as well as confirmation from the Pope in 1957 that anesthetics were not an obstacle to interior purification. (See Mike Jay’s complete and excellent article here.)
You laugh, I know, but have you heard your wife after her (male) obstetrician rolled his eyes when she requested an epidural during delivery? The moral disapprobation by those who don’t suffer pain, directed at those who must, continues, regardless of the technology at our disposal.
In 1917 Victor recorded a group of
What happened next? Victor went on to release dozens of records to exploit the commercial success of jazz, right?
Nope. Victor disassociated itself from jazz. So did
The problem, culturally speaking, was that high-brow, white
You see the problem. Victor stumbled into a cultural train wreck and could only recover by backing away from tainted commercial success with new recordings of European operatic and classical music that would appeal to the “best class” of people.
(So as not to make this post too long, I’ll simply say: jazz prevailed. So as not to completely confuse the subject, the Original Dixieland Jass Band was composed of white musicians. But that’s a different post for a different day.)
Sometimes the culture wars play out in a smaller technology community. In The World is Flat, Thomas Friedman tells the fascinating story of how IBM—a poster child for proprietary software in 1998—approached the open source Apache community. “IBM said, ‘We would like to figure out how we can use [Apache] and not get flamed by the Internet community.’” IBM understood that culture trumps technology, and their subsequent measured, respectful approach to the open source community led to the incorporation of Apache into WebSphere; today, Apache powers two-thirds of the Web sites in the world.
On an even smaller scale, and in motion today, the battle to acquire