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As for the internet as a broadcast rather than point-to-point technology, everyone knows that it supplies a lot of information. Culturally, it has the charms and limitations of a variety show. For example, during the short-lived Diet-Coke-and-Mentos craze of a few years ago (it seems the substances combine like nitrogen and glycerin), I was cheered by going on YouTube to see Americans harmlessly blowing things up in disused weekend parking lots: it is not often that the American fantasies of pure destructiveness and pure innocence are so beguilingly combined. And the infamous clip of Miss South Carolina 2006 trying to answer a question about geography stands as a more concentrated indictment of the US in the Bush years than just about anything a documentary filmmaker has produced. The internet is a funny place. And then curiosity and amusement sometimes turn to wonder: a friend tells me how moving it was to watch footage of a kangaroo giving birth. The nature of the internet is such that all of these examples will seem out-of-date; but they have their this year’s equivalents, and will next year too.

more from Benjamin Kunkel at n+1 here.