Monday, October 23, 2006

Who's Counting, Anyway?

What’s all the fuss about? I mean really?

OK, I guess I should mention what I’m referring to. It seems that there has been an intellectual-like battle going on over the use of the term “The Sixth Estate”. I’ve been watching a discussion on an other website to remain nameless here ( I refuse to give them the web-traffic) that started out as a disagreement and rather quickly devolved into a flame war. The word "vitriole" springs to mind. Over what? The Sixth Estate.

For those of you who don’t know what this is all about, let me offer the following summary. In medieval Europe, the first, second and third estates referred to the estates of the realm. The First Estate was made up by the clergy and the King. The Second Estate included the nobles, or royals, other than the King (see First Estate). The Third Estate was everybody else not included in the First or Second Estates.

At some point in history, the Fourth Estate was given over to the Press, or print media. Why? I don’t know, but there you are. Bob’s your uncle and all that. A bit later, the title of the Fifth Estate was taken over by the electronic media (not to mention that both a Canadian TV newsmagazine and an American anarchist newspaper used the name). Why? Again, I don’t know. Bob’s wife is your aunt, I guess.

So, what about the next number in line? What shall become the fully expected and natural progression of things as the Sixth Estate? Well, here is where I wish that there was actually somebody in charge of assigning these numbers, instead of leaving things to the loudest and most persuasive (or pernicious, as the case may be) voice. Some say it should be this. Some say it should be that. I’ve heard a number of suggestions as to what “this” and “that” should be. It seems a lot of people have an opinion. And sure enough, eventually when certain people have opposing opinions that they’ve invested their time and energy espousing, all Hades* will break loose.

And what are the options for argument? Well, if I weed it down to eliminate the silly ones, at least in my opinion (uh-oh, I’ve got an opinion…flames and name-calling will surely follow [sigh]), it comes down to just two.

1. Bureaucracy, or at least a certain bureaucratic mentality as it relates to trying to counter Estates Four and Five. Well, it’s actually a little more complicated than that. If you’re interested, you can read up on the concept here (this link is the basis of a lot of the argument for this option).

2. The Blogosphere

Hmm. The Blogosphere is definitely more fun. Seeing as how I’m a willing participant out here on the fringe, I think I prefer that one.

Aw, forget it. Who cares? It's all arbitrary. I think I’d really prefer to just go ride my bike.

* This is a relatively PG-rated blog, you know.


Anonymous said...

So, let me get this straight...

People are flaming over hypothetical groupings originally established when folks thought the world was flat.


People need to get out more.

Anonymous said...

I vote blogosphere.