Clay Shirky in a Columbia Journalism Review interview by Russ Juskalian – Interview with Clay Shirky, Part I:
"It seems to me, in fact, from the historical record, that the idea of literary reading as a sort of broad and normal activity was done in by television, and it was done in forty years ago.
The funny thing, though, is when television came along, it became, to a degree literally unprecedented in the history of media—not just the dominant media compared to other media, but really the dominant activity in life outside of sleeping and working—that a curious bargain was struck where television still genuflected to the idea of literary reading. The notion was that there was somehow this sacred cathedral of the great books and so forth. It was just that no one actually participated in it, and so it was sort of this kind of Potemkin village. What the Internet has actually done is not decimate literary reading; that was really a done deal by 1970. What it has done, instead, is brought back reading and writing as a normal activity for a huge group of people."