by LUKE BAUMGARTEN & r & & r & Overloadlympics & lt;BR & & lt;BR & I think I've learned something about myself watching -- or rather: failing to watch very much of -- the Olympics. I have a hunch it might be applicable to other people as well, to this whole generation of ours, maybe, but I wouldn't want to assume.
Here's a little irony: NBC's Olympic coverage is more in-depth than the past 17 Olympics combined -- 3,600 hours, and I don't really care to watch any of it. Seriously. Michael Phelps? Oh, I've been reading about him daily, whenever I log in to NYTimes.com. Team USA basketball? Don't really care. May-Treanor/Walsh stomping inevitably to gold in women's beach volleyball? It's been on at friends' houses. Federer's singles meltdown? Definitely heard about it.
It's weird. I am, or was, a huge fan of the Olympics. Synchronized swimming? Thats precision, coordination and grace there, boy. Beijing, though, I could care less about, I think because NBC is making it too easy. Federer's meltdown? I was scandalized by it, especially given his loss to Nadal in Wimbledon.
But here's the thing. I know it's online.
I can see it whenever I want, if I want. So: I don't want at all.
& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & T & lt;/span & hat's where this $900 million programming gaffe becomes illustrative of the power of the Internet and how it destroys the profitability of media. It's not as though putting 2,200 hours of video content online made me migrate from TV to laptop. It took away my desire to watch any of it at all. There was certainly no need to be in my living room to see Phelps get his eighth. If history happened, I could cue it up.
I could, but I haven't.
Bringing me back to music: Did we stop buying CDs because we downloaded them all on the Internet or merely because we could download them all on the Internet? Looking at my play list chronologically, there are massive holes. Holes I wouldn't have allowed myself in the era of scrambling around record store racks now sit gaping. Unfilled, probably forever.